Tuesday, February 03, 2009

When being A/R is totally helpful

So, not sure if you saw any of the photos from our recent road trip to Steamboat, but there are a lot of food-type pictures in there and those food-type pictures represent my A/R-ness at its most extreme.

See - Bubba and I are always working on how to make our trips *perfect*. It's a completely hopeless undertaking because we both know nothing will ever be *perfect*, mostly because we're both a little neurotic and like to bitch as a sport, but we strive for this perfection nonetheless.

Our ski trips are no exception.

Last year, while the snow was *perfect* and the accommodations were nearly *perfect* (shitty too-bouncy bed), there were a few things that were less than perfect. Like, the drive was a holy terror and shaved AT LEAST 14 years off my life (and I wasn't even driving) due to its complete and total icy and stormy shittiness and our nightly apres ski (Fruity Term Alert) meals were good but not Amazing.

And since we can't do fuck all about the weather (Although this time our drive was way easy. Thank you Mother Nature for sparing us your bitchiness.), we thought we'd try our hand at Amazing Food.

For us, Amazing Food to Be Enjoyed Post Ski Activities sounded a lot like:

BBQ Brisket & Beans
Smoked Pot Roast Soup
Super Scary Nachos
Grilled club sandwiches on home baked bread
Cajun meatloaf and mashed potatoes
Birthday Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Zest Frosting
WT Cherry pie
Bubba's Filthy Breakfast That I Do Not Eat

And then the obligatory daily cocktail hour that gets earlier and earlier in the day depending on how long it takes the sore muscles to cry out for mercy from the ski lift. For the record, Cocktail Time arrived at the lunch hour on Thursday AND Friday because we are wimps and/or boozers.

So, how does one go about securing the Amazing Food to Be Enjoyed Post Ski Activities Menu? One begins cooking her fingers to the bone in friggen December for the Jan-Feb trip and then shoving full one's freezer to its fullest capacity so that one can remove its entire contents into a cooler for the long haul across the western US, that's how.

You know I'm talking about me and cooking, right? Yes. Right.

So, to make real this dream of Amazing Food to Be Enjoyed Post Ski Activities, I began the baking/cooking/portioning/labeling/freezing process back over the holidays (remember those things? ew.) so that we could live our dreams of Amazing Food to Be Enjoyed Post Ski Activities in the snowy week of our ski fantasy at the end of January.

It takes a lot of dedication and combined insanity to bring a dream this gluttonous to fruition, dontchaknow. But it's worth it when I consider that I test-drove a lot of recipes and their freeze and reheatability for the benefit of myself and others.

At least this is how I'm justifying being so A/R and little piggyish, so just work with me.

The test drivers:

(Also, ignore the heinous dishware. It comes with the condo and we, apparently, do not share a taste for decor with the owners. Right down to the dishes that are too big to fit in the cabinets and weigh one hundred pounds each. Whatever.)

BBQ Brisket & Beans

Bubba set up the smoker with the sole purpose of creating smoked meats for this trip. Included in the smoke-a-thon were two briskets, a half dozen chicken breasts, a pan of beans, a pork shoulder and a pot roast. Bless this man.

After we sliced (and sampled) some of this goodness, I packaged/labeled/froze it for the express purpose of bringing it on this trip. To say it was *perfect* would be an understatement. I would say it was at least swoon worthy and I wouldn't have blamed Bubba for taking the brisket to bed with him and giving me the couch. It was just that good.

Smoked Pot Roast Soup

So, when the Day When Smoke Will Rise Again came, we threw a pot roast on there that had come as a gift from my folks' during the raiding of their chest freezer over the holidays.

This was not a mistake.

For one, smoked pot roast is a fine, fine thing (I'll post on this later. Promise.) and Vegetable Beef Soup made from smoked pot roast is, um, otherworldly? Pants-peeingly delicious? Extra nummy? I don't know. It's just real nice. And when you've spent the day slamming down snowy runs in zero degree temps (Ok, one day the board read 1 degree. Whoopy.) and you're wild animal hungry, this soup takes on metaphysical dimensions of goodness.

Also, there was salad.

Super Scary Nachos

These are only scary because this was an appetizer. Because we are ravenous beasts after skiing all day (or, in my case, 3/4 of the day because I'm a wuss) and need a snack to keep us from eating each other's limbs before dinnertime.

The guac poo swirl on top is the result of me squeezing it full-strength from the package. Sometimes pre-made is OK.

Grilled club sandwiches on home baked bread

I might be the last person on earth to make the No-Knead Bread, but I'll make up for it by baking it weekly until I die. If only so that I can relive this sandwich and soup experience. Really now, is there anything superior to a pimped out grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup on a frigid snowy day?

No. No, there is not.

Especially when your pimpiness comes in the form of turkey, bacon and home baked bread. Blah dow.

Also, there will likely be a future post where I show you all the bread-porny ways that we're loving on this bread. It's not right we love it so much.

Cajun meatloaf and mashed potatoes

I rolled the dice on this meatloaf recipe from Pioneer Woman instead of making my own tried-and-true recipe and I absolutely loved it to little tasty pieces. Bubba was kinda meh on it until we had it for Amazing Food to Be Enjoyed Post Ski Activities dinner with some mashed potatoes and bread. I will talk more about this meatloaf in a future post that will likely draw attention from the authorities given the amount of sexy talking I plan to do about meats and loaf and spiciness and sandwiching.

Birthday Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Zest Frosting

You're all familiar with these cinnamon rolls (also by Pioneer Woman because I'm a slut for her) by now and how I successfully froze the giant dough recipe into individual pan size doses for future use. Well, one of these doses came with us on vacay and baked up for Bubba's Birthday Breakfast under some of my special made frosting. It was special in the sense that it was the last frosting left in the WT can and I'd mixed in some orange zest before we left.

WT *can* be delicious.

WT Cherry pie

To continue with our WT theme (really, it is our whole life, but who's checking?) Bubba requested Birthday Cherry Pie. But since there aren't any cherries on the tree right now and when in the world will I have time to make a pie crust, we opted for the WT version.

Ingredients: 1 can of cherry pie filling, 1 package of frozen puff pastry dough
To make: Grease a cookie sheet, place one sheet of frozen dough on the sheet, pour pie filling on top, turn up the sides, put the other sheet on top, pinch the sides together, bake according to pastry dough instructions. Done. Go WT out on the couch in front of CNN.

Bubba's Filthy Breakfast That I Do Not Eat

He ate this two days in a row and it consists of one English muffin, two slices of cheddar cheese, a few slices of bacon and some type of cooked egg with a LOT of pepper. I do not eat this filthiness because I loathe plain eggs. However, he did make this for me without the egg and it was great. The egg is the filthy part. To me. Because I'm some kind of loser according to the egg-eating authorities of the world (Bubba).

And that concludes the Look at All The Food We Ate on Vacation post for February 2009. I realize it's probably mind-numbing and a little bit sickening, but this is how we live our lives as you well know so I don't expect a bunch of lip from the likes of you.

Instead, wouldn't you like to tell me your favorite vacation meal? What in the world do you break down and make when only AMAZING will do? I like to know so that maybe we can work it into a future vacation binge.

And in a future post, I will ask more questions and there will be an interview involved. I know you're intrigued.


  1. Hurray you're back. I have to admit, I LOVE WT frosting. Especially when it has funfetti chips in it. Mmmm. All your food looks SO good.

    Hmm, what do I make when only AMAZING will do? Honestly I usually get my boyfriend to cook. But if I'm forced to cook, it usually involves phyllo dough and something in pie form...

  2. It's a good thing my microwave just called me to dinner! I am ravenous after looking at all your AWESOME vacay foods!
    BTW - It's not microwaved food that the microwave was calling me to, I made a roast with veges last night and just reheating, since apparently, cooking for four is no longer necessary...everyone but me in this house works during the dinnertime hour..ha ha, I get all the good stuff!

  3. Holy Crap Finny -- you take all that food with you??? That's more than impressive -- this is why you're the food goddess! PW's got nuttin' on you!

    Now, let's review that frozen sweet roll thingy. Did you get them right up to the point of popping in the oven (or maybe before the last rise) and then stick them in the freezer? And how long did they have to sit out after coming out of the freezer before popping them in the oven? I've always wanted homemade cinnamon rolls first thing in the morning, but there's no way I'm getting up three hours (or more) early to make them!

  4. Welcome home and thank you for letting me live vicariously through your yumminess.

    For my vacation perfection, it's gotta be French toast for breakfast. Up at our cabin in Tahoe there's nothing like French toast on a snowy morning. I'd share the recipe, but I don't have one. It never gets made the same way twice and I'm always looking for the perfect FT recipe. Haven't found it yet, but the search is damned fun.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. (Yeah, that was me that deleted that comment. There was a typo, and I can't be having that.)

    I . . . don't even know where to start with this. I think I'm most intrigued by Bubba's Filthy Breakfast. I would totally eat that. My husband would totally eat that. Processed cheese-food and all. YUM.

    We call our WT woodchuckiness, but it's all the same thing.

    Also, not to doubt your amazing cooking, but damn near ANYTHING tastes better when you're ravenous. The quaint, old-fashioned phrase is "Hunger is the best sauce."

    Also also, no cooking for me on vacation. I spend enough of my daily existence in that damned kitchen--when I go on vacation, I want nothing at all to do with cooking or cleaning up. All I want to do is eat. So there.

  7. P.S. I want to go on vacation with you sometime, so you can cook and be happy, and I can eat and be happy. I think there would be lots of happiness all around.

  8. Hello Finny!

    I very much enjoy lurking on your site! :)

    It might just be that we have exactly the same taste buds. I think you've one-upped me on the organizing though. Your freezer is impressive. I'm just happy when things don't fall out of mine! I've canned your tomato sauce and it is just the best...YEP!

    Here's a meal the man and I call WT casserole:

    1 package of hot dogs
    2-3 cans baked beans
    1 onion
    1 jalapeno (sometimes)
    grated cheddar cheese

    Preheat oven to 350. Chop onion and saute. Chop dogs and add to pan. When they get brown remove from heat. Mix in baked beans and chopped jalapeno. Put mixture into casserole dish and top with grated cheddar. bake until bubbly - 20 minutes or so.

    Sit on sofa and scoop up with corn chips or just your spoon. Wipe mouth with sleeve and watch trashy televion, like Wife Swap. Don't forget to yell at the television. Or watch PBS, like we do....


  9. There must be a disclaimer on posts like this. As in: Do not read unless you are so full, you are nearly puking. Because this food is so fantastic, you will otherwise be licking your screen."
    Also, I cannot believe how prepped you are. WOW!

  10. Lynn - Oh Lynn. You know how we love food in pie form here. And when I brought Phyllo dough into Bubba's life, he almost remarried me. Magical stuff.

    Claudia - You get it all! Muhuhahaha! Make sure you get all the dessert, too :)

    Thimble - Yeah, I'm a psycho. I made most everything and froze it so that we could pack a cooler and drive it across three states and eat it in Colorado. Of course, we grocery shop for random things, but for the most part, the good stuff came from my kitchen at home and just reheated at the condo.

    So, with the cinnamon roll thing, I made the dough over the holidays (you remember the fridge explosion, yes?) and wrapped it in 6 separate packages to freeze. For this trip, I just put one of the packages in the cooler and let it thaw/rise overnight in the fridge once we got there. Since we were driving through below freezing temps all the way there, it stayed frozen in the cooler in the back of Bubba's truck. (See, we're totally WT.)

    Then, on the Birthday Morning, I just pressed and stretched it flat on the counter, poured some melted butter on there and sprinkled some sugar and cinnamon, rolled it up, cut it into 1" rounds and let it rise in the cake pan for, like, half hour or something and then baked it. It sounds more labor intensive than it really was since we spent the time it was rising getting halfway dressed for skiing. By the time it was ready we got to eat ourselves silly with warm rolls and then hit the slopes. It was groooooooooooooovy.

    Decca - Ah, French toast. Andy would love that. Sad that I am not a French toast fan, really. Mostly because of the filthy eggs involved. He's the breakfast chef though, so maybe he'll make it for himself someday ;)

    Kris - Hunger is the best sauce? Hysterical. I'll have to share my other "sauce" equation with you sometime. Also we would have to drink and be happy on our vacation, because that is a must. Bubba'd still have to come though, he does dishes and I do NOT.

    Cindy - #1 THAT SOUND NUMMY. I would eat it with Fritos. I miss Fritos. They are the devil's snack item. #2 YOU WATCH WIFE SWAP, TOO? OMG. We are so the same kind of WT. Wuv you!

    Africankelli - Right? It's a sickness, I know.

  11. Homemade enchiladas- using rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. So much easier!

  12. Ah, yes, I have tried this with Frito, and after not having them for many years, I must admit...not so good after a long hiatus. The once addictive snack chip is not longer.

    The casserole is also good with a handful of frozen corn - at least I feel like I am diluting the bad stuff with a miniscule amount of something natural.

    I studied architecture and spent a semester in Rome - I lived in the Campo De Fiori, and wow, what a great food experience. (Among other things...) Roman street pizza is the absolute best. Who knew you could have a pizza with potatoes or onions only and it could be soooo gooood!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.