Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Henry's Fork- Opening Day on the RR Ranch

It used to be the place to be on opening day of the Harriman Ranch on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Last Chance, Idaho. Back in the day, it was a who's who of fly fishing with such fishing elite  as André Puyans, Mel Krieger, Jim and Kitty Vincent, Jim Adams, Mike LawsonRené Harrop, and the list goes on. License plates from clear across the country were parked all over with their little campers, waders hung from everywhere. It is still a big deal to be on the ranch for opening day, but alas, we are all getting older and many of those listed above are no longer with us. It will never be the same to me as it was 25 years ago when we'd all meet in the parking lot, exchange flies, stories, beers and talk about what we'd all been doing for the last year, since this was the only time we'd see each other until next June 15th.

I was on the fork for opening day this year and it just didn't feel the same to me at all. It is one of those things better reserved in great memories which can never change. No Andy, no Mel, it's just not the same. I guess now it's time for the new kids on the block to take over and carry on their own traditions. I will just quietly keep mine tucked away where I can pull from the well whenever I feel the need.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Moose! Finally!

One of my alltime favorite things to see in Montana is moose. They are just such amazing animals and sightings can be rather rare. On this trip, I had decided to go in search of them instead of waiting for a chance encounter. So, these two moose were spotted up in Elk Park over the weekend. It was worth the time spent looking for them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rattler on the Road

I lived in Montana for almost thirteen years and never encountered a rattlesnake. Now, I live in Florida and am just visiting Montana and I find my first rattler.  It is a Prairie Rattlesnake, the only venoumous snake of all ten species of snakes in the state. If given a large enough dose, the venom can be lethal to an adult human. Fortunately for me, I was safely stowed in my car with Maggie, so was able to photograph him without having to make him feel threatened, which enabled me more photos.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Back in Big Sky Country

It is starting to get hot and humid in Florida, so Maggie the Wonder Dog and I have decided to spend much of the summer in our beloved Montana, home away from home and home before our present home. The most beautiful and colorful birds are here and so far, we are enjoying the gorgeous views.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dept. of Horn-tooting

From the current issue of Fungi Magazine, Winter 2012 Volume 5-No.5

Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's Mardi Gras...Time for HOT BOUDIN!

Boudin is a staple Cajun food found in Louisiana. It's a sausage mixture made up of pork, pork liver, rice and seasonings.  It's already fully cooked once it is stuffed into the casings, but it needs to be heated through prior to eating.  Found throughout Acadiana or Cajun Country, basically Lafayette, signs for HOT BOUDIN can be found everywhere.

Calvin Trillin published an essay entitled Missing Links in the New Yorker Magazine back in 2002 about boudin.  It is a great read and you can find it right here:  Missing Links

Anyway, here is a rundown of how it's made.  First there is a lot of cutting and chopping of meats and vegetables.  Pork butt, pork liver, lots of garlic, onion, celery, poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, spices like cayenne pepper, chili pepper, salt, black pepper, white pepper and then to finish it off, cooked white rice, scallions and parsley.

 So, the first step is to cut up the meats and all the vegetables through the peppers.  All that gets mixed up with the spices and gets to spend the night marinating in the fridge.  The next day it goes into a pot, gets filled with water to an inch or two above the ingredients and then simmered for an hour and 45 minutes.  The broth is drained off and reserved and the meat is then run through the meat grinder with a course blade.  Once the meat and vegetables are all ground together they are added to the rice that has already been cooked along with the chopped parsley and scallions and the reserved cooking liquid.

At this point the mixture will be a little wet but the rice will absorb the liquid.  Now it's time to stuff the casings.  Hog casings are used for this.  Then link the sausages if you choose and they are ready for the last and final step before eating.  There are several ways to cook boudin, from boiling to steaming or even oven browning to brown off the casing so you can eat it.  Usually boudin is squeezed out of the casing like squeezing a tube of toothpaste.  You just suck the insides out of the skin and discard the skin.  It may not sound appetizing but to quote Calvin Trillin, “I figure that about 80 percent of the boudin purchased in Louisiana is consumed before the purchaser has left the parking lot, and most of the rest is polished off in the car. In other words, Cajun boudin not only doesn’t get outside the state; it usually doesn’t even get home.”

All the more reason you'll just have to make your own! All you'll need is a Kitchen Aid Mixer with a meat grinding attachment and stuffer kit, a large stock pot and a rice cooker certainly helps.  It's a labor of love like any sausage making, but you'll agree it is well worth the trouble when you are sucking the last morsels of boudin from the casings.