Sunday, January 22, 2012

Country Fare

Our visiting friend, the chef, invited some of his friends from the other side of Oregon to come and hunt with him this weekend. The night before they came, he was showing me how to work with recipes using homemade butter, as it behaves differently than commercial butter when baking, as evidenced in prior posts.
 We will once again have light, puffy eclairs and no more ‘buttcrack’ cookies.
Since we spent so much time on this stuff, he ‘threw together’ a shrimp scampi for us. It was perfect.

The pups have been amazing. The hunters were told in advance about the Maremmas, so they didn't panic when the 'polar bears' appeared to check out them and their hunting dogs. The pups were vigilant, but totally unaggressive. However, when anyone's dog approached our gate which leads to the back pastures and the livestock, the Maremmas left no doubt that there would be a heavy penalty for trespassing there.

Since the guys also are staying in cabins, everyone will eat dinner at our house.
After a long day of chukar hunting in the rain and snow out on the desert, they headed down to the hot springs. Before that, they stopped by the house and dropped off lasagnas, cheese bread, a huge bag of lettuce and fresh caught salmon from the Oregon coast. These were REALLY nice guys.
I had already made a huge meringue for a Pavlova and a couple loaves of artisan bread so I threw the lasagnas in the oven to heat and pulled out some homemade butter to thaw.
They got back in perfect time, the lasagna tasted fantastic ( I forgot how much I really do like Costco’s lasagna) and the guys sang the praises of homemade bread and butter. They were super friendly, really nice and full of questions. It was  a great evening with good company and lots of laughter. Our friend had shown me how to make French pastry cream the night before, as we were going to fill eclairs with it, but decided it would be really good on the bottom of my Pavlova. Pavlova is a giant meringue, baked until crispy which is cooled, then filled with whipped cream and fruit such as raspberries, strawberries and kiwis. I had found some blackberries and raspberries at the store when we took Cider to the vet, so he took the top off of the meringue, slathered the bottom with the French Pastry Cream which was SUPER rich, having been made with fresh eggs and EmmaLouMoo’s heavy cream, then covered it all with berries. He took more fresh cream and made whipped cream which covered it all and we served it up.
I never had a chance for a picture. The guys inhaled it, making all kinds of moaning noises and one man kept repeating over and over “This is the best thing I have ever had, this is just the best thing I ever had”. Another was saying “Wow! What would this cost in a restaurant? This is amazing! What IS it??”
I had to agree. It was pretty good stuff.

One of the guys did dishes, another invited us to go to the Oregon coast and visit them. For someone who spends so little time around people, it was almost overwhelming. These were really great guys and I can only imagine how swell their families must be.
The conversation turned to rendering bear fat and I mentioned I would love to have some to make some soap with. They were all fascinated by the fact I make soap so they all took some to try out. I had to laugh as they were passing samples around so they could all get a sniff of the different ones I have cured already. One feller already wants to buy some for his wife.
Tonight we’ll have the fresh caught salmon.
I pondered how when we lived down in the rat race in California, I never had an Executive Chef come to cook for me, never had people stop in with fresh caught salmon and most certainly didn't have the time, or the means to make homemade butter, cream cheese, or fresh whipped cream.
I was never invited for a hot air balloon ride or a ride in a little red helicopter down there, which is just a couple of the many neat experiences we have had here.

Living out in the middle of nowhere definitely has its perks.


  1. OMG, I am so envious! I want to visit, too! I am sure the hunting there would appeal to my DH as well as the lack of neighbors and ratrace! The food your guests delivered sounds divine as well as all teh goodies the chef treated you with. (Plain old pot roast with vegtables today. Beef soup with our garden vegtables last night.)

  2. nothin' better than homemade soup!! ...although good scampi is right up there....

  3. I was wondering what the secret was to using homemade butter for cream puff recipes. Susie

    1. there is more fat in homemade butter, so you have to cut it back, or the flour cannot absorb it, and will not be able to hold its structure. After adding the flour to the pan and stirring it around to a ball, like ya do, he let it dry up a little bit before turning off the heat. (again, structure) Then he said when adding the eggs, keep beating until the egg 'tethers' to the bowl...sort of like...lugies...before adding the next one. You have to kind of eyeball to make sure its all the right consistency. Meanwhile, we had preheated a pan in the bottom of the oven, like you do for the artisan bread, when you put the cream puffs, eclairs, 'patty's shoes' (my own spelling of 'pate choix') in the oven, pour a cup of water in the pan underneath. Careful not to let it hit the glass on your oven door or it could shatter! anyway, they rose really great, and were fantastic.

  4. ...oh yeah, for a small recipe like i use, that calls for 4 oz of butter, we only used 2.75 ounces. It works better to weigh homemade butter.

    1. Well, I'm certainly hungry after this post. I'm actually salivating. As if dinner wasn't enough, you had to describe dessert too.... which looked heavenly.
      What interesting visitors you get out there in the middle of nowhere. It sounds like they find you no matter where you live.
      Wonderful, informative post and thanks for the butter equivalences for homemade butter. I will write this down. Thanks.

  5. I've spent the last several day engrossed in your archives. Thank you for sharing you life. I have enjoyed reading about all of your various chores, persuits, challenges, and loves. Blessings to you all.

  6. so glad you stopped by! It's such a great life here, I wish I really COULD share!

  7. I'm so jealous of your experiences. I am a new follower but thought you should know you have an award waiting for you on my page!

  8. petey, You have once again given me reason to visit out west! The only problem; I love where I live and I know that once I go out west, I will love that even more!

  9. I would bet that it was just as wonderful for THEM to visit you! I mean - you have it all, and are warm and welcoming to boot. It's nice that you all enjoy each others company and can have such a wonderful time. The description of that Pavlova almost made me weep!

  10. Petey,
    Your post made me homesick for the ranch and I have never lived on a ranch! I would love to experience your life as I always enjoyed my big garden and canning veggies, I used to raise and milk goats and have missed them since having to sell. Its a great life to see how much you can do for yourself without depending on processed foods!!