Friday and Saturday, 14-April-2023 and 15-April-2023
It’s been a hot minute since I went backpacking… and an even hotter minute since I’ve been backpacking with someone!
This weekend, I’d be taking Jess on her first snow backpacking experience – so I went with the basics, and we headed up to the White River Glacier to hopefully take advantage of the campsite that I’d tamped down back in… January? Okay, yeah there’s no way that campsite is still prepared.
Ahh well – it’d just make it more of a learning experience, right? Right. Right!
We got a nice Pine State biscuits breakfast, and headed into the woods. Snow. Onto the Glacier.
As always, it was beautiful.
As always, there’s not much to say about walking. We snowshoed, it was fun, had a blast.
Got to camp, carved out a campsite, and settled in for a relaxing and cold evening… good books, good gin, and delicious cocoa!
Nothing really huge of note, though I was really happy with how the tent site came out!
Saturday dawned nice and clear, with a beautifully crisp and cold world around the campsite.
We had some coffee and tea, a good breakfast, and headed upward, toward the little overlook at the top of the glacier. It was lovely, with solid snow and great views of the Cascades down to the south – and some stellar clouds filtering the light around us!
We hiked upward, and descended back down. Packed up camp, and made the shortish walk back to the car… just in time to make the early dinner bell at the Timberline Lodge, and get to see the sunset from the restaurant!
Man… I swear, if these trees were in Massachusetts, there’d be a whole event around them flowering.
I almost take it for granted, this team of year, just how beautiful the flowering trees of Oregon are. I have to make a point to step back and appreciate the blooms, enjoying the color and symmetry and… well, just everything about them.
I always remember back to the line from “The Last Samurai”: “The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.”
I haven’t dedicated my life to finding the perfect blossom… but I’ll keep it as a hobby, and continue my search.
And, since this is Portland after all, I won’t complain if I find some delicious tacos, crazy spray art, or near little yard ornamentation in the process.
Warning: This is a cooking post, and involves meat. If you’d prefer not to read about, or see photos of, carnivorous dining… please pull back now.
My friend Lea hasn’t cooked steak before.
I know, I know… heresy, right? But bear with her – At one point, I hadn’t cooked steak either.
At one point, I thought salting a steak was silly. I thought… forgive me… I thought that putting BBQ sauce on a steak was delicious. And it was! By my right hand, it was delicious! Simply because I didn’t know what glory I was destroying in search of that sweet tangy deliciousness!
I once… Once, I even marinated a steak in vanilla extract. Forgive me, cow-who-sacrificed-for-that-horror.
I feel bad admitting those transgressions, but I have to be honest. At least Lea knows what she doesn’t know, unlike a rash and foolish younger version of myself.
So, I present these recipes for cooking steak.
Next up, we have a rather complicated option – I’ve heard it called Steak Au Poivre, but it doesn’t really involve pepper… so let’s just call it “Steak in a flambé sauce”.
The Steak: – Buy a small filet, maybe half a pound maximum. – Bring it up to room temperature, with a generous helping of salt and sage. Ideally, Kosher salt or Sea Salt… large grains are the key. Go gentle on the sage, but doing skimp – this adds an excellent desert flavor, which goes great with the sweeter sauce. – Let it sit for ~60min – Heat the oven to 450 Deg.F, and heat up your cast iron skillet ’till it’s smoking. – Add some butter to the skillet, and toss the steak in, searing it for 30s per side. If you’re feeling fancy, use a kitchen blowtorch to sear the edges. Add more butter as necessary to keep the pan “wet”. – After both sides are seared, flip once more and toss the whole skillet into the oven for 2min and 30s, approximately. – Flip the steak, and let it cook for another 2.5min. – Take it out, remove from the pan, and cover the steak to keep it warm and let the residual heat continue cooking it.
Next up is the sauce…
The Sauce: – Starting with the butter and steak drippings in the pan from the segment above, CAREFULLY add in a quarter-cup of cooking brandy. Make sure you’re not under anything flammable, and that you have something to smother the flames if things get out of control. Then, light the evaporating brandy up! – Continue cycling, until you’ve flambe’d approximately 1cup of brandy. Add extra butter if the pan gets even remotely dry! – Add in some heavy cream, approximately 1 cup, and begin whisking constantly. Never let it burn! – Toss the steaks back into the pan, while still whisking the sauce constantly. Flip as needed, until the sauce has a nice dark-ish brown coloration and the streaks are medium rare.
The finished set: – Serve with steamed broccoli, potatoes, or your sides of choice. – Serve the steaks with a bit of sauce on top, and the remainder on the side… and maybe with a glass of nice red wine.