Thursday, August 16, 2018

Wanna bet on it?

The big question is, who gave Retired Mountain Man's mother the recipe for Hungarian Chicken Paprika and Spaetzle?  It has become the Burkhart family signature dish.

Retired Mountain Man says it was her neighbor who lived next door to them in the apartments in Coeur d'Alene back in the early 60's.  His sister Linda says the recipe was given to her by the chef at the Diamond Bar Inn in Jackson, Montana.  His parents loved to spend time there hunting, fishing and enjoying the hot springs and of course, all of the conversations and good times at the bar.

The Diamond Bar Inn still has that same local flavor.  I have heard a multitude of stories about their adventures and we finally visited there in 2013.  I searched for my photos of that trip - but no luck finding them.

That brings us back to our family dish, Chicken Paprika and Spaetzle.  It's basically fried chicken with a sour cream and cream sauce made with the drippings.  The spaetzles are unique though.  I needed three pans to fry all of the chicken.

I brown it on one side, add chopped onion.  Season with Hungarian sweet paprika, salt and pepper.  Turn it and brown a few minutes more and then add 1/2 cup. water, cover and simmer until tender.

Drain off excess oil, saving the drippings from the fried chicken.  Add a pint or two of sour cream and a pint of cream or half and half.  Season with additional paprika, salt and pepper.  Heat and stir until it begins to bubble.

The spaetzles:
3 eggs beaten with 1/2 c. water and 2 teas. salt.  Add 2 &1/2 cups flour.  Stir until moistened.

Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil.  Using a teaspoon, drop small amounts of batter into the boiling water.   (Dip the spoon in the water and it will come off the spoon)  It's difficult to keep the spaetzles small so here's an easy way to do that.  I use my kitchen scissors to cut them into smaller pieces as they cook.

It only takes about ten minutes for the spaetzles to be done, but cook them to taste.  Drain.  In a large bowl,combine the spaetzles with the sauce.  Reserve some of the sauce to drizzle over the chicken.  Layer the chicken on top.

This dish tastes even better the 2nd day which is one reason that I usually make it ahead of time.  I will serving it on Retired Mountain Man's birthday.

Another note:  spaetzles are a great replacement for noodles in many dishes.  Instead of chicken or beef and noodles, I make beef and spaetzles.  These are dishes without the sour cream of course, but the spaetzles taste great without it.

So, where did we get the recipe?  Someone will have to give in.  Who will that be?  The brother?  The sister?  Anyone who knows them want to make a wager on it?

I'll bet $5 on the sister.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mossy Rose Gall - Oh no! It's a wasp!

Remember this photo from my post yesterday?   It turns out that this is a home for a small cynipid wasp.  The perfect luxurious place for the wasp to live, surrounded by food and sheltered until it's time to leave in the spring.

The galls can't be treated after they have formed, but it turns out they aren't really too damaging to the plant.  There are only three of them on my rose plant and I can prune the branch and it should take care of it.

When you have a garden, there is always something new to learn.

Smoke report:  Another very socked in morning.  Yesterday the breeze picked up and the smoke blew to the northeast, which made for a decent day to work out in my gardens.  Maybe again today?

We will be celebrating Retired Mountain Man's birthday this upcoming weekend with visits from the "kids" and grandkids.  That means it's time to pull out the recipe for the family dish, Chicken Paprika with Spaetzles. 

Genius Kitchen photo

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good:
It's August so my Friday evenings are spent playing music with the boys in the band, Running With Scissors.

The gorgeous view is behind us.

Trinity at City Beach.  One of the most lovely settings for an evening out in the Sandpoint area.  Not to mention that the food is excellent.

The Bad: (As in the wildfires.  The Fire Camp is a good thing)
August also means a lot of other things are happening as well.  There's a Fire Camp set up at the Hope Elementary School and in the adjacent fields.

We have stopped by there several times to get updates on the Cougar Peak Fire.  The IC and others have been very informative and helpful in answering our questions.  We look at Cougar Peak from our dining room table, so the fire doesn't seem that far from us.

 The planes haven't been able to fly water drops for the past two days because the smoke is too heavy and visibility is low.

The Ugly:  Too much smoke.
Smokey Haze
Let's focus on the good:
Although the hot July and August temperatures are not good for the wildfires they are a good thing for the gardens.  The daylilies were spectacular this year.

As you can see, I couldn't stop taking photos....

Retired Mountain Man's dahlias are popping out and Maggie loves it whenever he tosses the toy for her.

Her favorite spot for a cool drink is at the fountain.  Then she takes a break and is always on watch for those pesky deer.

Oops!  I almost forgot the dahlia photos.

Check out this beauty on my rose bush.

I love my prayer flags from NAMI North Idaho.  Thanks to my friend Linda for making them.  They add so much color to the gardens.

I've put up 14 jars of dill pickles and canned 21 pints of peaches.  I also have 8 quarts of peaches in the freezer for pies and cobblers this winter.  There were lots of blueberries and my new plum tree set some fruit this year.

The harvest has begun.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Out with the old and in with the new.

Retired Mountain Man is the "keeper of the forest".  He loves his woods and spends hundreds of hours taking care of them.  He has already made enough firewood for next year and then some. 

There was a lot of snow last year and the really bad news was that it froze on the trees and never thawed.  The snow became so heavy that dozens of our trees broke off  near the top.

There were so many that RMM asked Trav to saw them down for us.  If you want a tree to fall in a particular direction, you need someone with real skill who knows how to do just that.  That woodsman would be Trav.   I think it only took him about 30 minutes to have them all on the ground.

There were more than ten very large trees to cut into blocks to stack to dry for a year.  LOTS of work and many pickup loads to move.

Which brings us to the real reason for this post.  Retired Mountain Man needed a new pickup.  The old truck was just not running right.  Sometimes it just refused to start as if to say, "I've had enough".  That is probably true.

We bought our 1971 Chevy pickup in the Fall of 1974.  It was a 4x4, which was a big luxury for us but a necessary one to drive up and down West Spring Creek road in the winter.

For many years it was the only rig we owned.  We traveled with the four of us and sometimes our Irish Setter, Lady, crammed in the cab.  It had two tanks for gas, but we rarely filled both of them.  There was a gas shortage in the early 80's and it was really expensive.  RMM car-pooled to work.  It was different back then.

Over the years every time I suggested that we might need a newer pickup, Retired Mountain Man always replied that the one we had was just fine.  After all, it was now just a firewood truck and never left the mountain.   It was difficult to find a mechanic who would drive here to work on it whenever it needed a repair. (Did I mention that the brakes might not be in the best shape?)

Then one day last month he commented that he might need a new truck.  That was all it took for me to start looking on Craig's list.  The next morning I found one.  In Spokane.  I didn't really think RMM would agree to drive to Spokane to look at it, but he did.

(The whole Craig's list pickup purchasing event is another blog post for another time.) 

Retired Mountain Man's new firewood pickup.  A 1989 Chevy 4x4, manual transmission.  Someone had taken really good care of it.  It looks too nice to be a firewood truck.  The bench seat upholstery was in perfect condition so we decided to buy a cover for it and try to keep it that way. 

We actually have someone who wants the old pickup to restore.  He's a young man who recently finished mechanic's school.  He had worked on the old pickup a couple of times and said that if we ever decided to get rid of it, he would like to have it. 

It's nice to know that someone else will take care of it and that we may one day see him driving it up and down West Spring Creek road again.