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July 11, 2011

Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

Homemade Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

I bought a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker last year and it is the best thing in the world. I have mainly been making sorbets. I love the refreshing taste of fresh fruit. I have been making a wide variety from Dragonfruit to Blood Orange. Berry or Citrus are our favorites.

I have tried one or two ice creams based upon a custard base. They are way too rich for me. I prefer ice creams made without eggs or "Philadelphia style". I recently did a web search to see what options and stumbled upon recipes from Jeni Britton Bauer creator of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus Ohio. The first recipe I made was the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from this article in Food and Wine Magazine. It was exactly what I was looking for.

Strawberries are late this year with the cool weather and they have just started showing up in our local Farmers Markets. I couldn't resist. I got two great pints from Jessie's Berries. I decided to make Jeni's Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream recipe from Tasting Table this weekend and it is absolutely divine. I highly recommend it. It is so smooth and creamy with out the added richness of eggs. Get the best milk you can get. I found some unpasteurized local milk from Twin Brooks Creamery in Lynden Washington. The local milk along with the roasted local strawberries were wonderful and soooo easy.

I also bought her new book on ice cream - Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream from Amazon. Lots of great tips on making home made ice cream. Some of the recipes are quite exotic but should be fun in the coming months. I love the Autumn recipe section.

Here are some photos to entice you....

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
Key - freshest ingredients

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
Close to nature... close to you

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
Local fresh strawberries from Jessie's Berries in Mt Vernon

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
Stir in the strawberry puree to the base and it is ready to freeze

Continue reading "Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream" »

July 21, 2011

Iron Bear Creek - Teanaway Ridge

Iron Creek/Bear Creek Trailhead

June 27, 2011

I'm a little behind in my blog posting. I've been enjoying taking pictures but I just can't seem to get them processed and posted. But I'll try.

Teanaway is area on the East side of the Cascades. I've blogged about it several times and it is our favorite place to hike. It is usually sunny and the trails are great. Plus it has lots of unique and abundant wildflowers due to serpentine soil.

There are two approaches. The traditional and most common is up the Teanaway Valley road just outside of Cle Elum. The road follows the Teanaway River up to the headwaters in Esmeralda Basin about 20 miles - 13 miles along dirt road. You can also approach it from Blewett Pass east of the river. This was the way we decided choosing to do the Iron Creek/Bear Creek Trail just off of Mineral Springs on Blewett.

Everything has been late this year due to the heavy snow fall and the cold spring. We done this hike as early as Memorial Day in the past but this year we had to wait until end of June. We called up our friend G and planned an early departure. We left at 8am arriving just after 10:00 and we were on the trail by 10:30.

The trail starts along the creek amidst the tall Ponderosa Pine trees soon opening along open rocky slopes fulled with wonderful rock plants; onion, gilia, penstemon, paintbrush dot the hillside along with showy yellow balsamroot daisies. You can see the ridge top which is our destination. It is a gentle climb up where you have an expansive view across the Teanaway Valley and on to Mt. Rainier.

We stopped for lunch before continuing up. The hill gets steeper climbing up to 5489' high point. I told the guys to go ahead and I would meet them on the way down. I had intended on staying back but I meandered along and before I knew it - I was at the high point. Gorgeous vista across to the Stuart Range. And even better, a couple of precious little high altitude plants including the steer head bleeding heart.

It was a quick trip down the three miles. Unfortunately, we ran into Sunday traffic and spent about 30 minutes in stop and go traffic on the way up to Snoqualmie Pass. Who would have thought - a traffic jam in the wilderness.

Along the trail
Along the Trail

Teanaway Country
Ridge top and rocky garden

Arrow Leaf Balsamroot
Arrow Leaf Balsamroot

Leaves of Balsamroot
I love the fuzzy leaves

Arrow Leaf Balsamroot
The contrast of the gray and yellow blossoms

Scalloped onion
Scalloped Onion

Red Indian Paint Brush
Brilliant red of the Indian Paintbrush

Mt Rainier in distance
Flower garden with Rainier in the distance

Mt Rainier from the Saddle
Mt Rainier from the Saddle

Clouds over Teanaway Country
The clouds created such wonderful patterns on the dark blue skies

Stuart Range From Teanaway Ridge
Craigy Mt Stuart and Enchantments in the distance


Steer's Head Bleeding Heart
Steer's Head Bleeding Heart

Saddle on Teanaway Ridge
On the way back at the saddle - the high point in the distance - Great day!

July 26, 2011

Camping at Pleasant Valley - Chinook Pass

Pleasant Valley Campground

We have been having a terrible cool summer. Some people love it and others are getting grumpy wanting heat. Traditionally the last two weeks in July are always sunny and hot. Chance of rain is really low so I asked for a Monday off last month and we planned on camping. We decided to increase our chances of heat and decided to go to the eastern side of the Cascades. We had not been in the Naches area between Mt. Rainier and Yakima in many years and there are lots of forest service camp grounds.

We left about 10am after G had finished watering. The road goes through Mt. Rainier where the tourists were jocking for views of the mountain. We continued on to Chinook Pass. This is where one of our favorite hikes is located - Naches Trail. The Ranger report said you needed an ice axe for the trail. We pulled over to the vista and the trail is definitely covered still in several feet of snow. So was Tipsoo lake.

We continued on. Pleasant Valley and Hells Crossing campgrounds were recommended. They are just a couple of miles apart. We pulled in and did a drive through on both before deciding on Pleasant Valley. We loved the open meadow besides the American River. We thought it would be perfect for relaxing. Everyone else was leaving since it was Sunday so we had our choice of the spots. We choose a site near but not right next to the meadow. We noticed that there were some ants in the camp and discovered a large ant hill between the site and the river. But we decided we could share it with them and they never bothered us. We set up camp, relaxed a bit and ate our lunch. The mosquitoes were out but a couple of Off wipes took care of them.

After lunch, we headed to check out Boulder Cave. We drove in and the parking lot was packed with cars parking on the side. The ranger checked our America the Beautiful Pass and wrote down our number. We circled the lot once and scored a parking place. The trail was packed with families including one or two pushing strollers on the trail. The actual cave was pretty short.

One the way back to the parking lot, we heard many sirens. It was kinda spooky just after the shooting in Norway. On our drive back to the camp, we detoured and drove up the Rimrock Lake Road. There were several aid cars coming out of Camp Fife. A bit further, we came across motorcycle accident and turned around not really wanting to see it.

Back at the camp, we relaxed a while and made dinner. I brought along pesto pasta and watermelon feta salad. We built a fire and I took a walk out along the river. It was warm so we decided to leave off the rain fly – mistake. I woke up about 2am and noticed the stars were no longer out. At 3am – it started to drizzle. I woke up G, pulled the rain fly on and went back to sleep to thunder. It was still drizzling when we woke up. We hung out for a while and then moved over to the picnic shelter to make a fire and have breakfast.

Meadow at Pleasant Valley Campground
Meadow at the camp

Filling up at the camp pump
Pumping Water at the camp

Interesting Clouds
Interesting clouds above the meadow

Vanilla leaf
Vanilla Leaf

Picnic shelter at Pleasant Valley Campground
The picnic shelter

Entrance to Boulder Cave
Entrance to Boulder Cave

Flashlight photo in Boulder Cave
Prerequisite 'scary' flashlight photo in the cave

Boulder Cave Exit
Bridge at the Boulder Cave Exit

Breakfast and a fire in the shelter after a rainy night
Coffee and a fire on a drizzly morning

July 27, 2011

Meeks Table

Vistas from the ridge

It was still lightly sprinkling after we broke camp and headed East. We were uncertain if if it was going to continue to rain or if we were going to be lucky and the rain would stop. We quickly arrived at the detour around the landslide on Highway 410 and found Bethel Road/FS1500. This was our turnoff to Meeks Table. It quickly narrowed. I was a little nervous since it was Monday and I hoped that we wouldn't meet any logging trucks. But I didn't think there was any active logging on the road.

The canyon was drenched in clouds but the disappeared as we climbed. We passed Lake McDaniels and started looking for the turnoff which we easily found. It was just a short bumpy way until we got to the end of the road blocked by a couple of large boulders.

We grabbed our packs and headed up the logging road. Our directions were a little unclear and we made a couple of false attempts. We went further over a couple of berms and finally saw the cairns which marks one of the trails.

It went up hill through the forest before crossing over some rocks and coming to a cliff edge. The vistas widened and we could see several of the mountains in the areas such as Mount Aix and Nelsons Butte. We continued climbing and then dropped below the rocky ridge.

There it was! Frasera specious - The Giant Green Gentian - which was what we were looking for. We continued on and the trail dumped us out on the rocky lithos table top. Most of the flowers were pretty toasty from the hot sun but we could see that it was a lovely rock garden of Indian Paintbrush, wild onions and buckwheat.

Behind the rocky edge, is a grassy meadow dotted with Frasera speciosa. We walked through the wet ankle-high grass to inspect the plants. They had mostly gone to seed but we found one or two blossoms near the bottom of the stalks.

We explored the table top soaking in the vistas before heading back down. We were back at the car in a flash. We headed back to Seattle. We turned back on the highway and were watching the California Quails darting along the side of the road when I noticed something on the road. I thought it was just a dead animal until I saw the head pop-up. It was a turtle! What the heck was it doing on the road? I quickly turned around and G jumped out and moved it off the road. I don't know what it was doing on the road. We don't have turtles here in Washington. We saw a ranch with a pond and we suspected it escaped from the ranch pond.

The clouds darkened and thickened as we climbed to Chinook Pass. The fog decended about 1/2 mile from the Pass and I had to slow down to about 20 miles since I could barely see the road. Fortunately the traffic was light and there were no hikers along the pass. I am still amazed that there is still snow at the pass.

The fog cleared and we thought we were on our way home only to see flashing lights at the turn off to Sunrise in Mt. Rainier. A tree had falled over the road and the estimated it would about 2 hours before the road was open. We had our choices - go around through Paradise which would probably take an extra 2 hours; detour up to Sunrise or wait. We knew there was still snow up as Sunrise so we decided to just wait. We got in line and pulled out the Backgammon board. We had just started the second game when the cars started. The road was clear and it only took 30 minutes.

We were on our way home after a fun weekend.

Rd 1500 on a misty morning
Misty road

Trail passes up through woods
Cairns along the trail

Climbs up a short rocky section
Up the rocky slope

One more climb to the top
And up

Our first Frasera right along the trail
First Frasera speciosa right along the trail

Inspecting the plant
Inspecting a Frasera speciosa plant

The flower of Frasera
Flower of Frasera

Eriogonum umbellatum
Erigonum umbellatum

Geum triflorum seedpods
Geum triflorum seedpods

Open rocky top - most flowers were gone
The rocky table top

Last view of Meek from RD 1500
Meeks Table from the road

Tipsoo Parking Lot in the fog
Foggy Chinook Pass - Tipsoo Parking lot

Waiting to clear the downed tree
Line up waiting for the road to open

July 30, 2011

Vegetable Garden 2011 - #4

Vegetable Garden - End of July

I has been a month since I updated what is happenin' in the vegetable garden. It is very interesting to see how the vegetables are reacting to the weather. We have had a lot more gray days but the night temps have been above 50 degrees.

The tomatoes have been marching right along and our cool weather hybrids have paid off. We already have a couple of ripe tomatoes from the Stupice. It actually beat out the sun gold for ripening. They continue to put on more fruit and a couple of nice warm days may push more to the ripen. But the majority of the crop will be late as expected.

We moved the zucchini out front to get more heat and they have started producing like gang busters. I cut three off today and there are a couple more that could have come off. We can't turn our backs on them now or else we'll have zucchinis the size of baseball bats.

The peas in our new bed have done extremely well even with the late start. It is pretty strange to have tomatoes and zucchinis ripening at the same time as the peas. If it stays cool which it probably will we should have the peas for another good week or two.

The Swiss Chard has done really well. No leaf miners and the four plants have taken over the bed. I've given up trying to keep up but happy with the crop.

We've harvested one crop of lettuce and we have two more in. We'll see how they do. We lost one batch of starts so we weren't able to keep them coming.

The beans are way behind. We had a couple of sets that didn't germinate and we finally have them coming up. The bush beans are starting to flower. I'm disappointed that we didn't have any Maxibel left and we didn't want to order any. G was able to get a similar variety called Nickels which we have grown in the past. We'll see how they do. The two romano beans are climbing well and starting to blossom. I'm really surprised that the Blue Lakes are taking so long to get going. They are still pretty sparse on the trellis.

We also have beets and carrots coming along. The garden is ready for the dog days of summer.

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Tomatoes coming along fine

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Zucchini blossoms

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Bean Trellises - notice they are kinda sparse

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Blossoms on Nickels Bush Beans

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Bumper crop of Sugar Snap Peas

Vegetable Garden - End of July
These went into a Pesto Pasta Salad today

Vegetable Garden - End of July
Beets and Carrots

Vegetable Garden - End of July
The Chard that ate the garden.

This page contains all entries posted to Postcards from the Trail in July 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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