Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunday Hiking

On our first official day in Big Sur we scrambled up a big breakfast and then headed to Andrew Molera State Park (not to be confused with Alfred Molina, which is what we called it. I blame it on our proximity to Hollywood).

First and foremost for hiking...put on your shoes.

Get on trail and take off shoes. Huh?

At the trail head there was a river. It was knee deep in the middle and 10 or so feet wide. According to some other hikers, who were crossing back over, there was a bridge over the river that morning but the rangers took it away in anticipation of the coming storm. Onward ho, we took off our shoes and waded across.

Brrrrr, that was toe curling cold.

The trail is about a mile through scrubby meadow.

Watch out for poison oak! It was everywhere in a beautiful autumnal warning of reds. Why I didn't take a picture of its profusion is a mystery. Well, really I was just trying to avoid making any kind of contact. One time my mom sat in poison oak during Topanga Days when I was a kid. She had a terrible reaction to the medication they put her on. The meds made her have heart palpitations so she taught me and my brother CPR, just in case she went into cardiac arrest. Needless to say, that scared the crap out of me and has been imprinted in my memory banks. So now I make a wide berth around "leaves of three" and "let them be" as the saying goes.

At the end of the trail you come to the beach.

The last time we saw sunshine was in Cayucos and it would remain that way until the storm passed through. The grayness of the day was perfectly suited for this mostly deserted beach.

Time to explore






Kelp composition in nature #1

Kelp composition in nature #2

Rocks in tide

Found object...a burnt piece of driftwood that looks like a duck.

After our explorations we headed back to the trail. Again, we took off our shoes, crossed the river, put back on our shoes and headed home.

For dinner we made Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli
(adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007)

2 heads of broccoli

4 cups uncooked medium elbow macaroni

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 ¼ non-fat milk

¼ cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons Spicy Brown mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 ¼ cups (5 ounces) Cheddar Cheese & Gouda

  1. Cook broccoli. Put in ice bath. Drain & set aside.
  2. Cook pasta in same water as broccoli. Drain & set aside.
  3. While pasta cooks, place flour, salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes or until thick and cream cheese melts, stirring occasionally. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic; simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a large bowl; toss well. Add broccoli.

Other modifications to the recipe. At the market I couldn't find elbow macaroni (I know, weird) so I used cavatappi, which is basically a double elbow and even better in the end because it has ridges that hold the sauce to the pasta. In packing for the trip I forgot flour. This is essential for making the roux. It was time to improvise so we threw in 3 tablespoons of Pancake Mix. At first the roux smelled and tasted like pancake batter but in the end after all the cheese went in you couldn't taste it at all. The cabin was pretty well equipped but it didn't have measuring spoons so we improvised on those measurements too. The original recipe called for Light Cream Cheese and Dijon mustard, I opted for regular cream cheese and spicy brown mustard. The original recipe also called for just cheddar cheese and that just wouldn't do, so I added Gouda to the mix. There was only one liquid measuring cup so we guesstimated on the amount of cheese as well. Really can you have too much cheese in your macs n cheese? I don't think so. The broccoli was added to get our veggies in. I like peas in my macs n cheese too. How do you do your macs n cheese?

The hubby was a little sad that I didn't have a baked recipe but I went for stove top because it was easier. It was homey and delicious and the recipe was very easy. After dinner we realized we didn't have any storage containers to fit in our dorm size refrigerator that was packed to the hilt. In shopping for snacks, I bought Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Cookies. A light bulb went off for the hubby and we emptied the cookies into the baggie the cheese was in and put the leftover macs n cheese into the cookie container. Ingenious! We had a great day that ended with a very tasty dinner and a flash of brilliance.

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