Saturday, August 23, 2014

Roast Trip 2014

     My best friend and I took driver's ed together back in the day, and ever since then we have been talking about taking a roadtrip together.  We finally found a time when we were both free. I had just finished summer classes at WSU-V and she had a week before going on a family trip to London.  Because I was trying to finish up my school work, Rahee took on a lot of the planning (Thanks Rah!).  She used a site called Roadtrippers to plug in the places we knew we wanted to go, and then filled in the rest with camp grounds and places to see along the way.  We created a master camping packing list that I plan to use again in the future.  The day after school got out we packed up my car and hit the road!

     Our first stop was at Crater Lake, OR.  Neither of us had ever been and we were both blown away! I still don't understand how water can be that blue without artificial color or photoshop.  We stopped by the lake the next day, but there was so much smoke in the air from forest fires that the water was barely even visible.

     That first night we camped at Diamond Lake campground.  We both liked it and would like to go back in the future.  We found a great little spot by the water for an afternoon swim and then we came back after dinner to watch the sunset.

     We drove south, passing through lots of smoke, hoping that we weren't driving straight into a raging fire.  Luckily the fire fighters seemed to have it under control.  That night we made it to Palo Alto, CA to visit the wonderful Michelle :)

     We had a rather grey visit with the Golden Gate Bridge, but what else can you expect from San Francisco? We explored Valencia Street and the Mission District, getting brunch at Boogaloos, and ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery.  

     The next day we walked Michelle to work and explored the Stanford campus before getting back on the road to continue our journey south.

     We fell in love with this otter at Monterey, CA.  I was surprised that Rahee didn't try to jump in the water to swim with this little guy!

     We drove down the very narrow, very windy Highway One, stopping to take pictures.

My favorite photographer
     We would have liked to spend more time exploring Russian Gulch State Park, but because of road construction we got there much later than we had planned.  This trip could have been called Mastering the Art of Setting Up Camp in the Dark: How to hit every traffic delay in California.  Good thing I had lots of snacks, driving music, and my best friend to keep me entertained.

     We drove the Toastmobile through a tree, nbd.

     We fell in love with the redwoods and drove up and down Avenue of the Giants about a million times trying to find our campground.  We also stumbled upon the best iced mochas in the entire world. Seriously. I would drive back to California just to have another soy mocha frappuccino. 

     Eventually we made it back up the coast and spent our last night in a yurt at Billards Beach State Park before heading home so Rahee could jet off to London. 

Grandma June's Apple Dutch Baby

I am no stranger to making Dutch Babies, sometimes known as a German pancake.  As a kid I would often make popovers from Mollie Katzen's Honest Pretzels.  Eventually I grew to making them full sized.  Eggs, milk, and flour in the blender, heat butter in an oven safe skillet, pour in the batter, pop it in the oven, practice patience, serve hot with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

If I wanted an extra special apple Dutch baby I'd have to wait until I went to Grandma June's.  It was the breakfast I would always request--crisp eggy dough, soft cooked apples, cinnamon apple syrup, yum!

It wasn't until a few years ago that I tried making one myself, and as luck would have it, it was delicious! I could almost feel Grandma June there with me.

Basic Dutch Baby recipe:
*Preheat oven to 450

Pan sizeButterEggsSaltMilkFlour
2-3 quarts1/4 cup31/4 tsp3/4 cup3/4 cup
3-4 quarts1/3 cup41/4 tsp1 cup1 cup
4-4.5 quarts1/2 cup51/2 tsp1 & 1/4 cup1 & 1/4 cup
4.5-6 quarts1/2 cup61/2 tsp1 & 1/2 cup1 & 1/2 cup

Select pan size and cut butter into small pieces.  Place the pan into the oven when it has almost reached 450 degrees to melt the butter and heat the pan.  Meanwhile combine eggs, salt, milk, and flour in blender until there are no lumps and the mixture is frothy.  I find it helpful to first blend the eggs and then add the rest of the ingredients.  Remove the pan from the oven and pour the mixture into it. Return to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Serve hot with your choice of toppings. My favorites include: lemon juice & powdered sugar, jam, syrup... you really can't go wrong.

Photo Credit: Rahee Nerurkar
Apple Dutch Baby:
* Preheat oven to 450
Thinly slice several tart apples and remove the seeds and core.  Peeling or not is up to you. Create a thin layer of apple slices in an oven safe pan.  Cook apples with brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon.  I never measure it out, just go with what feels right.  As the butter melts and the apples start to cook, add a bit of water.  This will help thin out the mixture to ensure that there will be enough liquid for the syrup.  Allow the apple mixture to simmer on low with a lid, while you mix up the Dutch Baby batter according to the directions above.  Remove from heat and drain out the liquid while keeping the apples in the pan.  Pour the batter over the apples and place in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes and serve hot with the apple cinnamon syrup.