I have lost track how many times we have been here, "here" filled with joy seeing my Friends, filled with Spirit’s exuberance seeing his own Friends. Those dogs have however matured it seems like and their romping is just not the same as it was a couple years ago. Maybe as us becoming adults they have settled and calm down through their own time. In the meantime my taste buds have been teased for a while now for a certain taste, this vision of a pork loin wrapped around some goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto and spinach. The local Safeway, just rebuilt and revamped was a surprise filled with "good stuff". My first thought is always… why do I always end up in an area where such a store does not exist? Soon in Texas the nearest half decent store, hoping that maybe it’s displays have gone up a couple notches, will be about 50 miles away. Always compromises, just cannot have it all, isolated living and gourmet food just do not mix!
While at it, why not also some roasted garlic chunky potatoes with sour cream and butter, thinking five heads of garlic being enough to also spread with olive oil on some jalapeno foccacia, and finish up with a puff pastry popover filled with a mixture of strawberries and blueberries, cooked down with some lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon, topped with some whipped cream… The broccoli, for appearance and color balance! The pork actually, not butterfly, but sliced thin in spiral end up being stuffed with some garlic~sun dried tomato Alouette cheese and some marinated red bell peppers with the prosciutto and spinach of course.
I think Mark and Anjie were happy, eating quietly is always a good sign! It felt good being back in a kitchen. Close to forty years of practice and these past couple years out of it, besides flipping burgers in short bursts, have me thinking a lot about the path taken. I enjoy the upscale end of it, cooking with complexity mixed with a high level of presentation including textures and colors. We will be exploring Texas and near by States this winter, weather permitting, and at the same time will be advetising my services as a Personal Chef within about a 100 mile radius. Maybe amounting to one dinner a week in Alpine, Marfa, Ft Davis or Marathon. It could be a welcome reality which will allow us to continue exploring further destinations comes April of next year with warmer weather passed winter. Winters are hard on the road, I feel fortunate to have a piece of land which we will be able to call "home base" for those few months, explore and raise some much needed funds.
We have had good Karma again here in Kingman. I have always wanted to learn how to use my camera in the RAW mode. A mode that allows a better control of the white balance after the picture is taken when having problems with some colors when in less than perfect conditions. I happen to be one of those with a brain that just does not comprehend much written instructions, and as I had ask questions on a photography Forum, the replies where not helping me. The last reply however, directing me to use RAW as being my only viable solution, was from Kingman. And I replied immediately… "how about getting together and teaching me!". What would be the chances in this big country for a Photographer, also a Blog reader, a motorcycle rider, to be in the same town as we are. We were on for dinner, a fantastic dinner by the way, so good that I forgot to take pictures…
The photos are from downtown Kingman which is on Route 66, a fact that I had also forgot!
I have now learned how to shoot in RAW for maybe better pictures to come! Joel and Dawn were the perfect hosts and a bit later on as I found out, as myself, they enjoy good coffee. I thought in turn I would show him the ropes on how to roast their own as I do. All is needed is a 1500W hot air gun with also preferably a cold air feature, a stainless steel bowl and wood spoon, the later two being dedicated for the roasting as they will "season" with time. My "green beans" are always ordered from "The Captains Coffee", great selection of Organic Fair Trade beans from all over the World and the nicest people to deal with.
You will never go back to packaged coffee! Even if the seller claims having it roasted just days ago. The process only take 12 to 15 minutes with total control on its darkness and the crackling with the smoke in the air is enough to bring out the neighbors. Just make sure the hot air gun is not to close to the beans as to not burn them and always stop before the desired color as they will continue roasting on their own while cooling them off with some cold air. Never stop stirring. They are ready to be ground within an hour and I generally roast about half a pound at the time, grinding them for every cup.
So I roasted my batch first and my student… Joel… did real well hoping that he will continue as I am sure they will get hooked on the taste of it. I would be happy to do as well with this RAW photo process as he did with his own batch of green beans. Maybe some day I might even have the ability to have one of those awesome Canon "L" lens as he does!
In the meantime Mr Spirit made himself very comfortable in the beautiful environment he was in, he did like the well manicured grass, the gravel was also of his taste and I am glad that the pool was covered. I hope he is not too spoiled as only limestone and cactuses are awaiting for us!
Tonight as we are just about in Tucson, there is not much on my mind besides a slide show of all these destinations we have lived in and now left behind. Of course I am looking forward to Big Bend and Texas, but I cannot help feeling a bit of sadness having closed the door to the past months. The key will always remain with us, the changes of seasons also brings on the changes in locations. We will probably stop at the Chiricahua National Monument for a couple days. There is a dirt road going over the mountain to Portal that I am very familiar with, some old memories I will write about next time.
Two years of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In "Your Favorites", organized also in "States", some labeled "first year" and second year". Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. Merchandise is also available through SmugMug.
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Be well, always. Ara & Spirit