Last blog post we were camping at Lake Minatare just outside of Scottsbluff, Ne. Before leaving this lovely state park (on day 3 ), Robert and I went for a short walk around the lake to see the only lighthouse in all of Nebraska (with no light in it!):
After a quick breakfast, we drove from Scottsbluff en route to mid-Nebraska. About halfway there, we had a special welcome to this area from a “County Mounty”:
81 in a 75 mile per hour zone – while pulling a trailer – qualifies for a ticket in Nebraska!
Around an hour later we arrived at the beautiful Johnson Lake, for an overnight stay on our way to Omaha:
The campground was lovely – there were lilac bushes throughout the campground, making the entire site smell fabulous:
To celebrate our first speeding ticket in over 6,000 total miles with the airstream, we started our evening with Robert’s delicious martinis (using our stainless steel martini shaker and matching glasses!) while watching a beautiful sunset over the lake – right from our campsite:
Dinner was Grilled Dijon Pork Chops with Arugula (from A Well-Seasoned Kitchen) leftover from my KOTA TV cooking demo the day before, served with sliced tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cheese topped with chopped chives and balsamic vinegar. Yum!
Day 4 we drove to Omaha, stopping at the Apple store to purchase the connector for my computer I forgot to bring. We motored just a bit east of Omaha, to Council Bluffs, Iowa where we set up camp at Lake Manawa. The lake is beautiful, however the campground is a bit tired – needs a definite facelift. Dinner was chicken breasts with sundried tomato sauce and zucchini ribbons. For the latter, I just used a peeler to thinly slice the zucchini and yellow squash, then tossed them with a bit of olive oil, parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice and chopped herbs. My apologies, I forgot to photograph it! But I did have this photo of the zucchini ribbons from the last time I made them:
Day 5 (Friday) we woke up and I made Scrambled Egg and Ham “Crepes” for breakfast. I scrambled egg whites with chopped green onions, then rolled them in a slice of Virginia ham that had been spread with a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese. Easy, fast, delicious – and healthy! I served them on our new “happy RV” acrylic plates, a gift from good friends Tom and Cynthia Ballantyne:
At lunch later that day I spoke to a group of around 30 executive women leaders at CSG Systems in Omaha, which was set up by my good friends Karen Eckmann and Julie Wohlers (Karen is in the photo below) who work there.
The meeting started off with a lunch that included the Grilled Chicken and Green Bean Salad from my cookbook, prepared by the catering department of the local grocery store Hyvee. They did a great job – it was delicious! Then I spoke to the group for around 45 minutes on the creation of the cookbook, and my journey “from the cable business to the culinary arts”. After I was done speaking, I sold cookbooks!
After a quick stop at Whole Foods and Camping World for a few supplies, it was back to Lake Manawa for a 10 mile bike ride in the park surrounding the lake. We saw a wild turkey and two deer on the bike path – unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me. Back to the airstream for a delicious dinner of grilled salmon cakes with lemon-herb mayonnaise and broccoli slaw:
More adventures to come as we continue our journey in the airstream!
Robert and I packed up the airstream and hit the road for our first road trip of 2012 promoting my cookbook, A well-seasoned kitchen.
As usual, I was worried that all of our stuff would fit . . .
But it did! Cuisinart. . . . check. Blender . . . check. Acrylic plates, bowls, wine glasses . . . check. Stainless steel martini glasses and shaker . . . check. Various pots and pans for broiling, steaming, baking . . .check. Weber grill with utensils . . .. check. It all fit, along with all the food I wanted to bring:
So, on day 1 we drove to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to the beautiful campground at Lake Minatare, where we set up camp and made dinner – barbequed pork chops and steamed cauliflower with Parmesan cheese and curry:
I also needed to prepare the pork chops for the TV cooking demo/shoot the next day:
Day two started with a cooking demonstration – with the airstream! – for the local ABC affiliate, KOTA. I had a lot of fun with local news reporter Leigha, making Grilled Dijon Pork Chops with Arugula (click on the photo to watch the segment):
A different sort of TV interview for me, as I was solo – just me on camera, talking. I am more accustomed to having someone with me, cooking with me, asking me questions. It was actually fun! Here is Leigha:
We left the TV taping and went directly to the Scottsbluff radio station, KCMI FM to be interviewed by a super guy, Russ. Great time!
Russ was an excellent interviewer, and promoted the heck out of my book for one hour.
From there, we prepared for my cooking demo and book signing later that afternoon at the Kitchen Company in Scottsbluff – where I was cooking with Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011!
We had a wonderful time – Teresa is an amazing woman, 19 going on 30. I would recommend watching her progress – she has great ambition (wants to be President of the US!), and the smarts and talent to make it a reality. We were fortunate to be invited to Teresa’s home that evening for dinner with her mother Janie, sister Christine, brother Adam and her maternal grandparents Nives and Frank. Fun evening with a delicious dinner of chicken marsala, noodles, mixed veggies, and delicious yummy chocolates for dessert. A delightful family and we had lots of laughs.
Lots more to blog about but I don’t have time to upload the photos right now – it takes ages using WiFi!
It’s been warm enough in Denver this past week to melt the snow off of our barbeque, so I decided to make these yummy Grilled Pork Chops with Mushrooms Sautéed in Bourbon. (If it’s still too cold or snowy at your house to grill, you can cook these chops on an indoor grill pan, or broil them.)
A few months ago, I was looking for something to make for dinner with what I had on hand, which included fresh shitake mushrooms and pork chops. I didn’t want a heavy mushroom cream sauce, and found an old recipe of mom’s for cooking mushrooms with Jack Daniels (her favorite winter drink!), which I modified to work with the pork. I seasoned the pork with one of my favorite rubs, which married well with the mushrooms. If it’s too cold or snowy outside to grill, you can cook the chops on an indoor grill pan, or broil them.
2 slices bacon
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, sliced (can also use button or cremini)
1/2 cup bourbon (preferably Jack Daniels)
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
4 boneless pork loin chops
Wash Park All–Purpose Seasoning from Savory Spice (see note below)
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on medium-high.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towel, drain and crumble. Pour off fat from skillet (don’t wipe out). Add butter and melt over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are soft, around 5 to 7 minutes. Add bourbon, increase heat and bring to a boil. Cook until bourbon is nearly all evaporated (takes just a few minutes). Stir in chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce and boil until sauce is slightly thickened. Reduce heat, stir in bacon, parsley and thyme. Keep warm while you cook the pork chops.
Once the grill is heated, bank the coals to one side of the grill, or turn off one burner. Rub both sides of the pork chops generously with the seasoning mix, place on the hot part of the grill and cook, covered, until seared, around 3 minutes (4 to 5 if not boneless). Turn over and continue grilling until the other side is seared, another 2 to 3. Move chops to the cooler part of the grill, cover and cook until they reach 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, around 3 to 4 minutes longer. Let sit for around 5 minutes before serving. Transfer to dinner plates and spoon the mushrooms on top.
Note: Savory Spice is a Colorado-based company. If you don’t have their seasoning, then you can season the chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dried parsley.