Thursday, August 23, 2012

Camping and Culinary Excursion!

Well it has been a while again but I have had a lot going on since the last time I blogged. I made it through my first season at The Club at Morningside. The season wrapped up for me the week after Memorial Day. Since then I have been working on my website projects, and and exploring food! I have been canning and making new recipes, pictures of my projects will soon be available on as well as some of my favorite recipes. In addition I will soon have homemade product available for purchase on the site. Well that is the news about what I have been working on and some things to come. Now let me tell you about the delicious vacation we just returned from.

I am not sure I have mentioned this in my blog before but I took my first trip to Oregon about 3 years ago and fell in love with it. Since then we have been back 2 more times. It is a great late summer vacation when you just can't take our heat anymore and you are pining for 70°F. weather. This year the temperatures were a little higher during the day than they had been before but would still cool down to the 50s during the nights.

The vacation was a motorhome trip. It would be a combination of eating in, visiting friends and eating out. In preparation I made several items ahead and froze them so they could be used for the eat in meals. For the out meals we would try new places and favorites from our previous trips.

We set out in the motorhome on a Friday after work and made our way to Gustine, CA (Santa Nella area). Since it was going to be hard to predict when we would get in and get set up I purchased prepared food from Bouchée Fine Foods in La Quinta. I bought their meatloaf and gorgonzola twiced baked potatoes both of which could be microwaved and accompanied them with a salad.

The next day was going to be an early start and a hard push to get to our friends in Bend. Breakfast was fast easy and we were on the road. We made it in to Bend early in the evening and after getting set up were treated to delicious tri-tip sandwiches by our friends. We would spend 3 days with our friends, getting caught up, laughing and playing games. Sunday morning we cooked up a package of bacon so we could use it over the course of the trip and had a hearty bacon and egg breakfast. Later in the day we set out to see some sights in Bend and enjoyed a late afternoon salad at Croutons. Sunday evening was spent having fun with our friends and enjoying some homemade fig bars that I had brought along. On Monday our last day in Bend I baked cinnamon rolls that I had made and frozen before baking so I could bake them off as wanted. We took another trip into Bend to check out Sparrow Bakery which I had researched online. It was a wonderful bakery in a rehabilitated area of town in a wonderful little building. We bought some delicious quiche and salad to take home for lunch. Monday night we made dinner for our friends. Appetizers were chips with roasted corn salsa that I had canned and homemade guacamole. I had made enchiladas verde and frozen them, to accompany them I made chorizo spanish rice and served both with re-fried black beans. Dessert was homemade dark chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream.

Tuesday morning against the urging of our friends we headed west through Sisters and McKenzie Bridge ending up in Sweet Home. While town was not completely representative of it's name, we were in a beautiful RV park across from Foster Lake. Dinner was a short walk down the lakeshore to The Point Restaurant with views of the lake. 

Wednesday morning I baked off croissants that I had made and froze before the trip, I served baked eggs with spinach and bread crumbs along with them. I took out a achiote marinated tri-tip to grill once we reached our next stop in Gold Beach. I baked potatoes on the grill and roasted locally grown yellow sweetcorn and made a salad with tomato and homemade vinaigrette. Dinner Thursday night was the long awaited treat of Tu Tu Tun Lodge. Just a short walk from our campground, appetizers were served on the veranda overlooking the beautiful gardens and Rogue River (image above). They consisted of fish cakes, corn fritters, crostini with mushroom remoulade and polenta cakes with aioli. The dinner bell rang at 7 and we were seated family style in the dining room. Dinner started with a beautiful mixed green salad that had bleu cheese from the Rogue Creamery in the Medford area. The main course was a whole rib eye rubbed with cumin and perfectly grilled, sliced and place on the lazy susan along with fingerling potatoes and cumin popovers. Dessert was an amazing blueberry and goat cheese tart on basil oil with blackberry couli and house made vanilla ice cream, WOW! This was definitely a highlight of our vacation. Friday was a simple breakfast and lunch, for dinner I had made homemade duxelles and chicken mousse ravioli, I made a white wine butter sauce and sauteed asparagus to serve them in and served it with a fresh green salad.

Saturday morning was time to head home so we had a simple breakfast, broke camp and took off for Gustine again. It would be another long day. We decided to take the 101 down to San Francisco and head east on the 580 back to the 5. Thanks to modern technology I was able find a highly recommended sandwich shop in Arcata, California called the Hole in the Wall. It was in a very cute old building and the sandwiches were huge and delicious. I had the hot pastrami, yum! It was a long but beautiful drive and we got in about 7:30 in the evening. I had taken out the Wild Mushroom and Sausage Lasagna with Red Pepper and Tomato sauce Friday night before going to bed. When we got in I fired up the oven put the lasagna in to bake and baked some garlic bread and made a fresh green salad to go along with it. 

Sunday morning we were able to take it a little slower as the drive back home was half what we had done the day before. Once we packed up and headed out we planned on stopping at Harris Ranch for breakfast. We arrived about an hour later. I had the 8 oz. sirloin and eggs for breakfast and soon we were on our way again. We would soon be home! 

It was a wonderful vacation, lots of time to unwind from daily life and spend time with friends, spend time together and with little Erin who loved playing with our friends dog Crave. It was her longest stay in the motorhome and she settled right in after we got on our way. One of the things I enjoy about vacations is the chance to find places to eat that are unique to the area you are in, going in the motorhome also allows you to have some nice homemade meals along the way.

Stay tuned for another culinary excursion soon!