Farmers Market (a trip north)

I am not going to lie I am to the point that I think that I get a better value from going to a farmers market than planting myself.  You are able to get the finished product that is garden fresh with out the frustration and waste of planting your own…

That begin said I am NOT a big fan of a farmers market that has more arts and crafts for sale than food. I have found a couple of markets that I like. Logan’s is fun, and it is well organized so the crafts, produce, and prepared foods are all separate which is really nice. But my favorite one now is the Salt Lake Downtown Alliance market on Tuesday night. They only have food and I can run over right after work and pick up what I need and get home.

Plus you can see lots of other cool sights.

SQUIRREL!!

For this farmers market we decided to go up to Logan and hit all of our favorite places. You know Aggie Ice-Cream, Gossners, Cox Honey (we missed that one this time).  As a great bonus we were able to spend some time with Uncle Craig and Aunt Binda (who took all of the following photos but left them on my camera to take credit for).  It was a really a great day Farmers Market getting some really fun food pancakes with Buttermilk syrup and Ethiopian foods.  I gave the kids some money and let them run off together; much to my wife’s chagrin.

Then we were able to spend some real fun time there at Merrill Olsen Park. Someone really enjoyed the stream that runs through the park.

Someone else enjoyed the stream as well. 🙂

Here is the guilty party my brother Craig.

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Boys Camp

Christy and Chey went to girls camp this week. Yes, I missed them horribly. But we managed to still have a little fun and even get down in the dirt a little, some of us more than other.

Logan sure enjoyed the having complete access to the sling shot. He was able to get fairly accurate, probably because of the all the practice he got. He had a shooting range set up and spent hours and hours of knocking over cans. He even was able to punch a hole through one of his cans.

Ready. Aim

FIRE!


While I was trying to get a picture of Logan and the slingshot Luke wanted a “Picture with my mouth open” So here you have it a picture with his mouth open. Ain’t it grand.

I always make some time for Dutch oven potatoes whenever we go camping. They are always good, but this batch was exceptional. I will throw the recipe at the end. 😀 You’re welcome.

Along the way I picked up a new favorite camping food tradition. Totinos party pizzas. Since I am already “not-camping” because of my trailer. Why not take advantage of it. Bake the pizzas cut the boxes to serve the pizza on. Everyone likes them and the clean up is the easiest ever. (It’s called kindling for the fire)

Traditional Dutch Oven Potatoes

This is a ratio so you can double, triple, 10X, or whatever as needed.

2 Lbs of Potatoes cubed (I like and use Yukon Gold)
1 lb onion chopped
1 lb stew meat
1 lb carrots chopped
1/2 lb bacon chopped
2 tsp celery seeds
2 tbls season salt (I love the stuff in Winco’s bulk area)

Render the bacon until it is almost crsipy. Add meat and one cup of water cook over med-high until the water is gone. Add another cup of water stir well. Add the onions carrots then spices, then add the potatoes. put the lid on and cook for 45 mins to an hour do not stir. Once, the potatoes are cooked stir well and serve the meat should have gotten that wonderful brown pieces.

My Day In The Rain

A few months ago I was asked to do a senior portrait session for the daughter of a good friend of mine.  I will admit it was a little nerve racking for me, but she is a beautiful, fun girl who I have known her whole life.  How hard could it be… Well other than the extremely ominous dark clouds that where forming for the deluge that was to come.

We started out in my back yard for some “safe” shots, while I still had a reasonable amount of light.

Then it was off to Wheeler Farms.  Here almost everything was shot with with a shoot thru 30in umbrella with a SB-600 using Nikon’s CLS system to supplement the “available” light.  At this point the skies were so dark to get any kind of light I was shooting at f/4 or less and at 1/50s or less.  The end of the shoot it was actually starting to rain quite heavily, and I do mean heavily. This was the point were I was very grateful that I had a Pelican case.

Banh Mi

I was a faithful watcher of the Food Networks Great Food Truck Race. They had a Sandwich Truck that was making these amazing looking Vietnamese sandwiches called a Bahn Mi. They looked amazing and very nearly won the whole competition.

I was right this is one of the greatest sandwiches I have ever had!!

For the pork:
10 cups simmering water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbls Sambal or Sirracha (red rooster sauce)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
3 pounds boneless pork butt

For the pickled carrots:
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups peeled and coarsely shredded carrots (from about 3 medium)

Everythihng else:
2 Vietnamese or French baguettes (not sourdough)
6 tablespoons Mayonnaise NOT Miracle Whip that crap is nasty
10 ounces pork pâté (optional)
1 large English cucumber, halved crosswise and sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
4 jalapeños, sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
4 teaspoons light soy sauce

Pour 2 cups of the simmering water into a 6-quart heatproof container with a tightfitting lid, then remove the remaining water from heat. Add salt and sugar to the heatproof container and stir until dissolved. Add garlic, chiles, peppercorns, and pork. Top with remaining 8 cups of now-tepid water to fully cover the meat. Submerge the meat if necessary by filling a resealable bag with water and placing it on top. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight. When the pork is ready, remove from the liquid, rinse, pat dry with paper towels, and place fat side up in a roasting pan. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Roast pork until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, at least 45 minutes, then slice thinly, about 1/8 inch thick.

For the pickled carrots: These are what makes this sandwich out of this world don’t miss out on this.
Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat, add carrots, and stir to coat in pickling mixture. Let stand until carrots have softened, at least 30 minutes or overnight. Drain well and set aside.

Bring it all together!!
Slice off the top 1/3 of the baguettes lengthwise and set aside. Remove enough of the bottom interiors so that the filling can fit easily.Spread 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise on each baguette’s upper 1/3 and 2 tablespoons on each bottom. Crumble half of the pâté (if using) on each bottom section, then top with sliced pork, cucumber, cilantro leaves, pickled carrots, and jalapeños. Sprinkle each sandwich with soy sauce and close with the upper parts of the baguettes.

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Balsamic-Honey Glazed Steak

I have been a complete slacker on the blogging front.  So just to have something on my main page other than my twitter archives I thought that I would put up what I made for Christy for Mother’s Day.

While this I used this for steak it would equally rock on any other protein: chicken, fish, pork, heck even tofu.

Balsamic-Honey Glaze

3/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Ketchup
1 tsp granulated garlic

Mix all the ingredients together in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a low boil, keep on the heat until it is a thick syrup.  Make sure you are stirring because it will burn.  Also this is vinegar so it will clean out the sinuses as it is cooking down, but it is sooo worth it. It is a glaze so you will want to put it on your grilled food in the last 5 minutes of the cooking process. After you put apply the glaze remove the meat from the direct heat and let it continue to cook indirectly for that perfect coating.

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Family Road Trip

With the first real spring break my kids have gotten from school I really wanted to spend as much time with them.  So between trying to keep my extra time at work to a minimum, I decided that a family trip would be alot of fun and it was well needed.

We decied to head south to Goblin Valley State Park.  We couldn’t decide when we were leaving and by the time we left and drove down it was midnight and there were no camping spots and there was a such a strong wind that we couldn’t put up the tent.  Why didn’t we have the trailer?  Because no one but me thought we should.  So at midnight we all tried to get comfortable in the Expedition.  FYI the driver’s seat is not comfortable, but I am sure  it was more comfortable than the passenger seat with a 4 y/o which is how Christy slept.  Did I mention  it was also cool, below freezing “cool” plus windchill.  But this was the view that we woke up to…

Did I mention that the check battery light came on. No big deal I was idling and when I revved the engine the light went off.

After breakfast in bed we started exploring Goblin Valley. I have always wanted to check it out and I was really glad we could go and see it. 🙂 It was truly amazing I really recomend it to everyone. I want to go back in and do night shots sometime.

What a stud!

Mom and her boys.  It took her hours to to get warm after hiking around in this valley in the wind.

She is really starting to be quite the teenager 😉  It was quite amazing how comfortable some of these  rocks were.

Luke became very adapt at discerning good “Globulens” from evil “Globulens” good Globulens were ignored, but the evil Globulens had their hearts (dirt clods) ripped out and used as bombs against other evils. It was absolutely hilarious.


So as we were leaving Goblin Valley I started to get a little nervous that the check battery light was not going off no matter what I did. For those of you who have not been there this is in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE don’t even think about getting a cell signal. I was starting to get a little (alot) nervous.

Anyways on a favorite of our family Capital Reef!!! Oh how we love that place.



So by this point the battery light had not gone off at all.  We felt like we needed to cut the trip short and head for home.  Hopefully, we would be able to make it there before the car gave up the ghost.  I started to notice as we were driving that the electrical gauge was starting to drop ever so slightly.  So by the time we hit Loa Utah I stopped for gas as I was filling the car up I was making use of my phone to try and plot out the best plan.  I was also wildly flinging up silent prayer as to what I should do.  I filled the car up and away we went; about 100 yards I saw a Napa Auto parts store and I was told to pull in there. So I did.  We tested the battery/alternator and the battery was at 10.4 and not being charged at all by the alternator.  In fact it barely even started the car to pull it into the shop.  So we ended up adding $320 to the local economy, and a new alternator to my car. It was more than I would have spent if we were home, but it got us home safe and was a bargain compared to some of the alternatives.

I was right though it was a very fun trip and it was so worth it.  I loved listening to Chey and Logan play I spy which was just a method to do 1,2,3 JINX and then start hitting each other (fun and laughing the whole time).  Listening to Luke as he crafted one amazing story after another. Heck I even thought Chey’s I made up the most annoying song in the world was a little funny. 🙂

Hey look a Lizard

 

PS If you are wondering about the different styles of pictures.  I started using Instagram, a photo social media site.  If you are on it give me a follow and I will surely follow you back.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, When Did You Grow Up?

Holy moley look at my little girl. Acting on stage for a her school’s musical, and then in a couple of weeks speaking in our Stake Conference.

Seriously, it was not that long ago that this was her.

But this is a lament of all parents I guess. I am very proud of her and they person that she is.

The musical was Into The Woods, and it was really, really good. It is another a mashup of several fairytales. All the kids did a great job. Chey even took a couple of voice lessons. Even being able to try out was a big deal for someone in her grade. She did not have many lines, but a couple of singing parts. But from where I was sitting she nailed everything. It was an impressive production.

She did most of her performance on this pick ladder.  We were deathly afraid that she was going to fall.  Thank heavens she didn’t 🙂  I believe that she counted 150 bobbypin that were needed to hold her hair in place.

She even had a couple of friends in the play with her.

Hey look a Cow!!

Headshots

I was asked to to take some headshots for a friend’s daughter who is auditioning for The Sound of Music at the Hale Center Theater here in Salt Lake City. With the crazy time we have been having at work it was tough to get the time to do it, but we finally were able to make our schedules work.

I took some with just the light from the fading sun.

Then I started using my favorite available light. My speedlight controled using Nikon’s amazing CLS system. The white background is actually their garage door. I love the lens compression on the 70-200.

I know that headshots for kids are supposed to be happy and smiley, but I love the emotion of this one.

While no money was exchanged. We are getting free haircuts. So I am counting this as my first “paying” gig. Pretty cool huh!

Happy

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Did you miss out on &Pi day that’s ok Tau day is still coming up on 6/28 and it is a MUCH better day. Learn more here

 

PS I know that this is an awful “food” picture but it was really good and I was the first time I was able to use my homemade vanilla extract.  So the whipped cream was delightful!!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ok so you all know by now that there has never been a food holiday that I don’t love. Heck I even choose what team to cheer for during the Super Bowl based on which city’s food is better. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that come March I start stocking up on hunks of Brisket and picking spice. 🙂

I know that this is not the best picture ever, in fact I really don't like it. However, I really struggled with a vision for this dish. I shall try again.

Corned-Beef and Cabbage

There are two ways (maybe 3 I am thinking about roasting it sometime) to make corned beef and cabbage.  One is a soup and the other is fairly dry.  They only differ in the amount of water and spice; although for the soup I cut the brisket into bite sized pieces prior to cooking.

3lbs of Packaged Beef Brisket with spice packet
1 Large Onion
3/4s of a head of Cabbage
2 lb Red Potatoes chopped to bite sized pieces
1 tbls Dijion mustard
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (I actually use Crystal Hot Sauce it is my favorite vinegary hot sauce)

The key to good corn-beef and cabbage, in my opinion anyway, is time and then adding the ingredients in stages. That way every thing is finished cooking at the same time.

I start my Corned-beef 3 hours prior to dinner time. Start by trimming any excess fat from the meat. In a stock pot on medium-high add some butter to and heat until the bubble stop forming. Add meat to the pan and brown on both sides. Add 2 cups of water the mustard, the hot sauce and the spice packet that came with the meat. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes then reduce the heat to a simmer for the remaining time.

With 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time removed the meat and slices it against the grain. Add the potatoes and the meat back to the pot and cover for 10 minutes. At “T-minus” 10 minutes add the cabbage and cover until almost cooked. Remove stir and serve.

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