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Hualapai Mountain Park

Photo credit: Lake Havasu LIVING Magazine

Hualapai Mountain Park, in the beautiful Hualapai Mountains, was the setting for Chanté and Cody’s wedding.

Hualapai means “People of the tall Pines” in the Hualapai language and the park is part of the Mohave County Parks Department.

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

There are 24 rustic cabins that sleep from two to twelve. Nineteen of those are equipped with beds, tables, gas ranges, refrigerators, heaters, electricity, bathrooms and showers, hot and cold water and most have fireplaces or wood stoves. Each cabin also has a barbecue grill and picnic table outside.

One of the five camping cabins

The remaining five cabins are called “camping cabins” and have a double-size bunk bed, table, microwave oven and an under-counter refrigerator. The restrooms/showers for the camping cabins are located just across a small road.

Cody and Chanté visited in November, 2017 and rented all the cabins. All but the one that was already reserved, that is. In mid-January, 2018, over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Cody, Chanté, along with Cody’s parents, Paul and Kim, and I visited to get a lay of the land and make a plan for the wedding and reception. Well, honestly, the couple already had a grand vision, they shared it with us and we collectively made a plan on how to execute it.

They knew that they wanted the to be reception in front of three of the five camping cabins. The three were on level ground, while the remaining two cabins were down a slight incline. When partying, dancing and alcohol are involved, it’s rather important that level ground is also involved.

The first cabin was to be the bar, the middle was for the band and dance floor and the third was my staging cabin for the food, with a buffet dinner set-up directly in front of it.

Along with the cabins and camping facilities, the park also has three recreation areas. Each has a full kitchen, restroom, playground and a lighted ramada with picnic tables. We had Rec. 2 – Pine Knoll. The stone and wood lodge was built in 1983 and has electricity, hot and cold water, a sink, refrigerator, stove-oven, wood burning stove and two tables to use as work area.

Rec. 2 was up a steep switchback road from the camping cabins. I can’t even count how many times I drove from the camping cabins up to Rec. 2 and then back down again. My cabin for the weekend was the fourth of the camping cabins. That will come into play in later descriptions of the wedding weekend. Although, I spent the majority of my time inside Rec. 2. Not a bad place to work for a weekend!

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June 18, 2018   No Comments

this and that

Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.

– Anthony Bourdain.

Photo courtesy of griffithimaging.com

I want to give you a heads-up; next week I’ll be posting all about the wedding I helped with over Mother’s Day weekend. It’s been nearly 4 weeks since I last mentioned it in THIS post. That is because I was so much “in the moment” and honestly too busy, to take photos of the food or the gorgeous setting and set-up. That’s a good thing in scheme of it all, but not a good thing when you need photos to blog about!

Thankfully, the wonderful wedding photographer, Jen Griffith of Griffith Imaging, sent me photos to share. So please come back on Monday to see all the beauty that was Cody and Chanté Howard’s wedding weekend.

Today, I want to share a great cooking tip that I thought most people knew about, but realized I might be wrong in that thinking when I found out my own kids didn’t know it … and they used to live with me.

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June 15, 2018   1 Comment

Connor’s birthday pie

Connor asked for Banana Cream Pie for his birthday this year. He’s always been a chocolate sort of guy, but I’m thinking he gets enough chocolate at his job. Funny thing is, I love pie. I prefer it 100% over cake. But I don’t care for Banana Cream Pie. Any other cream pie, and I’m game, but banana, no thanks. Thing is, it wasn’t my birthday, so banana cream pie it was!

I used a Martha Stewart recipe. I think the only thing I changed was I did not make my pie crust. Instead, I used a Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust. It is my recent go to and can be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, near the “pop and fresh” rolls and such.

I intended to add shaved chocolate to the top before serving, but forgot. It would be a nice touch, if you’re so inclined.

Unfortunately, in the rush to get the candles on the pie and serve it, I forgot to take a photo of the finished product.

Instead, please enjoy this photo of a half eaten pie. 🙁

Banana Cream Pie

  • 1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 large whole egg, lightly beaten, plus 4 large egg yolks, divided
  • 8 medium-ripe bananas
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Shaved chocolate, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll refrigerated pie crust and fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Fold under overhang so it extends slightly beyond edge of pie plate. Crimp edge as desired. Prick dough all over with a fork. Brush rim of dough with beaten egg. Chill pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Line the chilled pie crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges of crust turn golden, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights. Return crust to oven, and continue baking until golden all over, 15 to 20 minutes more. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare an ice bath; set aside. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks; set aside. In a saucepan, whisk together milk, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), and cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes.

In a slow and steady stream, whisk about a quarter of the hot-milk mixture into egg yolks; whisk in remaining milk mixture.

Strain into a clean saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thick and bubbles appear in center, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Set in ice bath until completely chilled, 30 to 35 minutes. (Filling can be kept in refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, up to 1 day.)

Cut 4 of the bananas into 1/4-inch slices, slightly on a diagonal. Beginning on the outside edge of the pie crust, arrange the slices, slightly overlapping.

Make another circle inside the outside circle and a few more in the very center.

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June 11, 2018   1 Comment

Creole Potato Salad

This is the last of the creole recipes from Connor’s birthday, which was now more than two weeks ago. Plus, I still need to post the recipe for the dessert he requested, banana cream pie. Oops.

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June 9, 2018   No Comments

better than cornbread

This may have been my favorite dish from Connor’s birthday dinner. I found the recipe on Saveur.com. It’s originally from Brigtsen’s Restaurant in New Orléans.

Baked in individual ramekins, this cornbread with jalapeño and shrimp, is so much more than cornbread.

To make them hot and fresh: Just before serving. I cooked the shrimp mixture and set it aside, whisked together the flour/corn meal mixture and set it aside. Then, combined the wet ingredients, covered and refrigerated that, all done in the late morning. Thirty minutes before we were to sit down at the table, I preheated the oven and put it all together. They were ready to serve at exactly the right time with very little last minute effort.

And, of course, I served Harmony Boards for his dinner too. I’m creating and serving them every chance I get. It helps to practice before Kim and I make our new business venture official.

These birthday boards were fruit and cheese, with only a few slices of salami thrown in for good measure.

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June 4, 2018   1 Comment

red beans and rice

Along with the Shrimp Creole that Connor requested on his birthday, I made him some classic Red Beans and Rice.

My recipe uses three types of pork; a ham hock, cured salt pork and andouille sausage.

The recipe calls for 12 ounces of cured salt pork. You’ll buy a 12 ounce package and trim off most of the fat. As you can see in the photo above, once you’ve done that, you’ll end up with about 8 ounces of pork to use for the beans. Discard the fat.

These red beans are even better if they are made the day before, refrigerated overnight and reheated before using. Just be sure to reheat slowly and add water, if needed, to prevent them from drying out.

Oh, and I just use a simple electric rice cooker for my rice. Generally speaking, rice will triple when cooked, so 1 cup of raw rice will yield about 3 cups cooked rice. I used 1 ½ cups dry rice for this recipe.

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June 1, 2018   1 Comment

the other entrée

I served these chicken breasts along with the pop-pop-popular Baby Back Ribs at my Memorial Day BBQ. People raved about the ribs but must have enjoyed these too, since they were all gone at the end of the evening.

I also made a couple of Harmony Boards, one fruit and one crudités.

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May 31, 2018   2 Comments

Linda’s ribs

These ribs were the hit of my Memorial Day BBQ. Today, I had planned on posting another recipe from Connor’s birthday dinner, but several of the guests asked that I post this recipe first and I love nothing more than pleasing my friends and family. <3

There is only about 15 minutes of hands-on prep time and another 15 or 20 minutes of grilling time, the rest of recipe  is hands-off time in the oven. See, easy!

You can use your favorite barbecue seasoning rub, or use my favorite Food Network rub. I’ve been using it for nearly 10 years. The recipe for that rub is included.

I used purchased BBQ sauce, but of course, if you have a favorite recipe, use that!

Linda’s Easy and Delicious Baby Back Ribs

  • 5 to 6 pounds baby back pork ribs
  • 3/4 cup barbecue seasoning rub *recipe below
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottoms of two large baking sheets with heavy-duty foil.

Lay ribs out on the baking sheets. Season all over with the rub, using all 3/4 cup. Cover baking sheets tightly with heavy-duty foil.

Roast in oven for 1 hour.

Gently remove top foil and brush ribs with half of the barbecue sauce. Carefully and tightly re-cover with the foil and return to the oven for 30 minutes, ribs will be very tender.

Heat grill to medium-high. Grill ribs, brushing with sauce and turning several times, until slightly charred and glazed, 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Transfer ribs to a cutting board. Cut into one or two rib portions and serve.

Serves a crowd

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May 30, 2018   No Comments

shrimp creole

Thursday, May 24th, was Connor’s 27th birthday. He requested a Cajun dinner with a banana cream pie for dessert.

He specifically wanted shrimp and sausage, so Shrimp Creole fit the bill perfectly.

I especially love the vibrant colors of Shrimp Creole. It just screams, “celebration” and makes any occasion a party!

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May 26, 2018   3 Comments

harmony

I’ve wanted to put up a post about the wedding reception I did for Cody and Chanté over Mother’s Day weekend, but I don’t yet have the photos to do so.

So, while we wait for those, I have a sneak peek at a new business venture that my friend and colleague, Kim Howard, and I are looking into embarking on.

I put together this 3.5 x 1.5 foot Harmony Board for the reception. It consists of a cheese board, charcuterie board, crudités and fruit board.

We’ll call it Harmony Board 1.0.

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May 21, 2018   3 Comments