Saturday, June 30, 2012

Philosophy - The Universe

I've always been a fan of history and what could be more historic than how the universe got here.  As a result, I like to watch the shows dealing with this and recently saw one on the Science Channel.

If you believe in astronomy’s numbers and want to feel humbled, consider this (I think I did the math right) - there may be as many as 500 billion galaxies (many much bigger than our Milky Way) in the universe, 200 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy (all of which could have planets), and 7 billion humans on the earth.  If there were one planet in each star’s solar system with just one being, I would be one of 700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 beings in the universe.  And if each of those planets had 7 billion beings rather than just one, the numbers would get pretty big.  Speaking of pretty big, the largest star discoved so far is a billion times larger than our sun - I watch this stuff while I blog J.

Something to think about the next time I find myself sweating the small stuff. .

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  Gardening Thursday – Onions, Garlic, And Tomatoes

Two years ago:  BBQ Day Two


Friday, June 29, 2012

Disappearing Tenderloin & Apple Bacon Cole Slaw

Well blogger buddies, you’ve done it again – delivered recipes just when I needed them.  Bev had decided she wanted grilled pork tenderloin for supper and Kathy from A Spoonful of Thyme had just posted a recipe for Disappearing Tenderloin and it sounded just right. 

I only had one pork tenderloin but it was pretty large so I made the complete recipe of marinade and left the meat in it for a couple of hours.

1/2 orange juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp minced garlic

After reading Kathy’s rub ingredients and having chili powder winner, Drick, refer to it as a rub, I decided it had enough similar ingredients to try it as a rub for this – first time ever used for something besides chili by me.

I don’t cook pork as done as some so I grilled it to an internal temp of 140* and tented for 8-10 minutes before slicing knowing it would raise to my desired 145*.

After pouring out the grease, I added the leftover marinade to a skillet I’d used to fry some bacon for the slaw, and still had a few bacon bits, and reduced it until thickened.

For side dishes we served our standard bacon wrapped and grilled smashed potatoes and Apple Bacon Cole Slaw from Lynda at Lynda’s Recipe Box, which she'd also just posted the previous day.  Rather than recopy it her, please check out her site for the recipe and photos.

Here’s a shot of my plate.

The tenderloin was delicious and about three bites in, it occurred to me that I’d forgotten to add the rub to it and when I told Bev, she said “I don’t think it could have been any better.”  I can’t believe I did that (CRS strikes again) but think the sauce made a big difference and this was a testimony to the flavor of the marinade. 

I will definitely try this again with marinades and, after reducing, taste them and use as a pan sauce if they have the right flavor – perhaps with a few adjustments.  So this became a post about the marinade and you should check at Kathy’s post at the above link to read about the tenderloin - WITH RUB.

We both really liked the slaw but thought ot was just a little too tangy for our taste, perhaps due to the very juicy lemon we used. Next time we'll add half the juice to begin with or a little more sugar.  Thanks Kathy and Lynda for a very nice meal.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  Brisket, Beans, And Mac


6/19/12 meal date

Thursday, June 28, 2012

RV Trip To Roan Mountain – The Mountain

This is the trip post I've been anxiously awaiting putting up, but I like to keep them in order so waiting was required.

When we got back to the campground after the second day in Blowing Rock for the power shoppers, we got some fresh drinks and headed up the 8 mile grade to the top of 6300’ Roan Mountain to check out the rhododendron gardens.  While I’d heard of Roan Mtn. and it’s rhododendrons for at least 35 years, I was totally unprepared for what we found as we got to the top on a clear 65* afternoon – it was 74* down at the campground.

RoanMountain is home to the largest native growth of rhodys in the country and while trees have started crowding some of them out or hiding them, the maintained garden area is stunning.   I was having trouble with the sun and shadows and some of my shots are washed out.

I was not as surprised that the plants were beautiful as I was by the gardens area complete with concrete paths and lots of picnic tables nestled throughout the gardens. 

Bev saw a man taking some close-up bloom shots and suggested I do the same.  I first shot this lighter colored one.

Then I moved over to a darker one.

And while I was shooting, this little guy showed up in the view finder complete with pollen covered legs and back.  I didn’t have to move or do anything but snap another shot - be sure to blow it up.

These are shots from the site of the former Cloudland Hotel which was split by the TN/NC border.

Bev and I had made a day trip to the mountaintop last Sep. which made us want to come back at this time) and here is a comparison shot on the same path – I’m sure you can figure out which is which.

The trip up the mountain finished off a pretty busy day.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them (AND THESE SHOULD BE).

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago: How To Eat This Meal

Two years ago:  Bevs Early Summer Garden


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baked Cauliflower Casserole

After harvesting a nice head of cheddar cauliflower, the white moths that lay the eggs that become green cabbage lopper worms got under my floating row cover so I picked the rest of the cauliflowers before the eggs hatched.  I ended up with a few small heads of Graffiti Hybrid and Veronica Romanesco Cauliflowers.  I forgot to take a shot before Bev cut them up so here are some shots from the web and mine were just a smaller version.

She used a recipe from Steamy Kitchen authored by professional recipe developer Jaden Hair and followed it except she omitted the olive oil.

Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon and Garlic - Adapted from Steamy Kitchen

1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
6 cloves garlic, halved
3 strips bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar
Grated parmesan

Heat oven to 375F.  On a baking sheet (Bev used a casserole dish), toss together the cauliflower, garlic slices, bacon and olive oil.
Roast for 20 minutes until bacon is crisp and cauliflower is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When nearly done she added a little white cheddar and parmesan cheese.

It was pretty and tasty but I would have preferred more cheese.  The next night she added additional cheeses and reheated the leftovers, and I thought it was very good.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  BBQ Burrito & Ice Cream


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

RV Trip to Roan Mountain – Blowing Rock & the BRP

After lunch at the Greek restaurant in Boone, NC, we headed down to the town of BlowingRock, NC, which one of the campground’s fulltime summer residents told us was a shopper’s paradise.  Per magazines and Wikipedia “The town of Blowing Rock takes its name from an unusual rock formation which juts over 1,500 feet (460 m) above the Johns River gorge. Due to the rock's shape and size, wind currents from the gorge often blow vertically, causing light objects to float upwards into the sky.”  A shot from the web of the blowing rock, which we didn't know to stop at.

It is a nice little town that has morphed itself into the summer tourist mecca of this area of the NC Blue Ridge, with the old buildings lining main street containing nice shops (not T-shirts and junk from China) and restaurants, and the side streets having more shops, restaurants, and lodging (shots below).  While the girls shopped I found a couple of nice spots, dog sat the three pups, and chatted with the near continuous steam of ladies who stopped to pet them – single guys should go out in public with a couple of cute dogs rather than go to bars.

To come home, we drove about 30 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway (my desire for the trip) and I took a few shots along the way.  It's hard to get clear shots in the lazy, hazy days of summer.

We had a different plan for a second day, but after discovering Blowing Rock, the girls insisted on a return trip as the two hours previously only gave them time to hit four or five shops.  I agreed but decided I was not interested in another day of sitting around with the dogs so I dropped them in town for a four hour visit and the pups and I went exploring.  I first drove around town and snapped a few pictures.

This is the city park across the street from the shops.

Then the dogs and I went driving around the area, including the Blue Ridge Parkway in the other direction from the previous day.

I always thought it was Tom Dooley.  Christmas tree farming is big in the high altitudes of this area and here are a couple of them I saw along the way.

Sorry for the length, but I just knew you'd want to see all these shots J .

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  None

Two years ago:  Breakfast Fatty And Eggs


Monday, June 25, 2012

Corned beef Hash From Nueske’s

When the two Hoffer families stayed with us for the blogger party, I served some homemade scrapple for breakfast and Stu asked if we liked corned beef hash, which we do a lot.  He told us about a brand he buys and said he would send us some.  A package recently arrived containing two rolls of Nueske’s Gourmet Corned Beef Hash, and this post will feature it along with bread from the Smoky Mountain Bakery in Roan Mountain, TN.

What better way to begin Father’s Day than a meal of corned beef hash, poached eggs, and toasted rye bread, so Bev whipped it up for me.

And what better way to start the next day than a repeat performance only with fried eggs, sourdough toast, and fresh picked blueberries.

And a threepeat - after browning a little, I flipped the hash and made a well for the egg, then cooked over low heat with a lid.  I took the shot in the pan as I was confident it would not slide from the pan intact.

But it did okay.

For those of your who don't derive the enjoyment that I do from the site of runny egg yolk oozing over the hash, I cooked this one. and sided it with a slice of chipotle cheddar bread.

And finally, I opted for no toast and cooked more of the hash instead which will finish off the chub, when Bev eats what I left her.  I topped it with sunny-side-up eggs.
With a little effort, I believe I could replicate the Nuekse's plating shot below, but I'm just too lazy.

The hash was delicious and tasted just like Bev's homemade from fresh corned beef and it's hard to beat the convenience of slicing some off the roll.  If you buy some, I found it unnecessary to add salt to either the hash or the eggs. Trust me when I say the above photos represent some very good eats. Thanks Stu & Sandy and Sam & Meakin.

I also enjoyed the various gourmet breads that Bev bought at the Smoky Mountain Bakery during our trip to Roan Mountain - separate post about it coming soon.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  Blogger Party – Part Last

Two years ago:  Nothing


6/17/12 - 6/22/12 meal dates