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, Wyoming
Thanks for visiting Sauce du Jour. Feel free to share a great recipe, leave a comment, or make me dinner. I'll bring hors d' oeuvres and the wine! To visit my website go to Thanks for visiting the Sauce ~Tammi

Apr 30, 2011

The Bruise Cruise

See that little red bag on the right? It's our 1st Aid kit, which (in six months) we haven’t had the occasion to use. See that smiling group of people below left? Those are my cousins, better known as the reason that the little red bag was put to use.
The Big Guy and I could hardly wait for what we knew was going to be a wild and crazy week. These cousins are the fun ones...the ones who will drop everything and on a moments notice, drive 200 miles for a party. They not only come to the party, they are the party!     
We blamed The Big Guy for putting the process in motion when he started the trip off by trying to do one of the things that men are not genetically capable of. Multi-tasking. (News flash for the male species: Walking and chewing snoose is NOT considered multi-tasking. Either is simultaneously belching while a) talking, b) eating, c) scratching, d) watching sports.) Anyway, we’d barely left the docks when Big tried to put the hammock away while opening the storage locker that it goes into (attempted multi-tasking), which resulted in a fall and a slide (almost considered multi-tasking) across the deck, furthur resulting in a bruise to the bicep. Bad juju was in the air and The Bruise Cruise was not only officially born, but it was off and running.
     Later that night while Mona was getting into the dinghy she demonstrated the uncool way to do it, by taking one big step and then doing a face plant. The only thing stopping her from running her head into the far corner of the dinghy was the motor, which by the way, is the perfect size for a head to get wedged underneath. That may be why her eye was all swollen and weird looking. Still that didn’t explain the reason for the all night ralphing. (Concussion maybe?) She called flu bug, we called bull$h!t and thought it may have had something to do with the six different varieties of cocktails that she had ingested just shortly before the dinghy dive. I have to hand it to her, the next morning the girl did her best to rally because she really wanted to test out her new scuba certification. Finally it was agreed that puking into your regulator would be gauche, so her maiden dive was scuttled.
     Big and I took Tom on his first dive, and he did great, although we had a minor panic attack when what we thought should be about half way through the dive, discovered that Tom was about on his last breath. We made a beeline back to the boat and I had one hand on my octopus, ready to buddy-breathe if need be. Not to worry, Tom got to the surface with a good breath or two to spare. Whew, good thing we are practicing on the relatives. We would hate having to explain losing a complete stranger to a family of complete strangers.
The next day Mona must have given her bug to Tom, because he spent the better part of the day chumming for fish. Nausea from the flu is bad enough, but garnish it with a little sea sickness and you have a power puker on your hands. The poor guy was so sick that he and Mona got off the boat and checked into a little bungalow for the night. Did I mention that these are our fun cousins, the ones who are always up for a party? When Tom was feeling better he followed Mona’s lead and demonstrated yet another way of how not to get in the dinghy. His digger about landed him in the drink and if it hadn’t been for that dinghy line that got wrapped around his neck he could have gotten hurt. Luckily I was standing by with my camera and was able to capture the moment.
     Ok, so when you step from the salon into the cockpit you HAVE TO PICK UP YOUR FEET! Just sayin. Shyla kept forgetting that, which resulted in her stubbing her toe (the same one, natch) about 10 times a day. Finally on the 3rd day and on the 2nd stub of the morning, she jammed it hard enough to declare it broken. The hide was definitely peeled off and her pig began to turn a shade of purple that matched her nail polish, making it look like she had a sloppy pedicure. We gave her a shot of tequila and taped her up, all before the coffee was even cold. She howled like she were on fire when we poked a fin on her foot so she could snorkel The Baths. Yes, torture is included on all Pisces' cruises.
So we don’t specifically know what Paula did to earn her injuries, but somehow she managed to average about one bruise per day. Big is not a doctor, nor has he ever played one on TV; but he did stay in a Holiday Express once, so that gave him the necessary credentials to perform the surgery required to remove a piece of broken coral from her toe. Since she was biting down on that whiskey soaked rag that we had shoved in her mouth, we couldn't really decipher her yelling, but we think she said something about us needing a lawyer. 
         Jerome, aka “The Cleaner” did not get his black eye from diving under the dinghy to get the 5 jalapeno slices that I had the audacity to throw overboard. No, that came from repeatedly banging his head off the bowl while licking up the leftovers. What leftovers you ask? That’s right, with "The Cleaner" on board, there were NO leftovers, and he had the black eye to prove it!
     By the end of the week Susie, aka "Mrs. The Cleaner", had 3rd degree burns, and I’m not talking sunburn here, I’m talking scalding burns on her hands from doing dishes eight hours a day. After "The Cleaner" cleaned the plates then "Mrs. The Cleaner" cleaned them again. As if the burns weren't enough, she didn't notice that big thing on the back of the boat, aka "The Back of the Boat" and she smacked her hand on it which earned her her very own official Bruise badge. "The Cleaner" was able to kiss it and it make it better. (see photo below right...nah, come to think of it, he was just licking some leftovers off her face.)
     It was sometime around day six when Big dropped to the deck like he’d been shot out of a cannon. As he was hoisting the main sail he stepped on that part of the boat that he is always telling everyone else not to step on because it can be slippery. Well, he lay dead still for a few minutes before regaining consciousness. If the rest of us hadn’t been laughing so hard we could have gotten a picture, but as it turned out we missed a great photo op.
     I thought that I was going to be the only one to come away without a limp, a bruise or a permanent scar, but when there is bad juju onboard no one really makes it out alive. Case in point: everyone was in bed, the boat was quiet and I decided to go get some hang time in our new hammock, since I had not yet had the chance to take it for a test drive. Pillow and blanket in hand, I settled in. I closed my eyes and let a little sigh escape my lips. I was dead tired from all the cooking and nurse-maiding. About that time the hammock came to life and bitch slapped me right out it. I landed with a (loud) thunk, and I’m pretty sure a fractured shoulder, right on top of Tom and Mona’s stateroom. I heard the hatch creak open a little farther, heard the laughter and saw Mona’s head pop out, camera in hand. (Publishers note: As the author of this story I reserve the right to post whatever pictures I want to or don’t want to. And I don’t want to post THAT one.)
     At the end of the week the party-people went through more Advil, Neosporin, Dramamine, cortisone cream, tape, band-aids, peroxide, ear drops and benadryl than they did Bud Light Lime. (Exception: "The Cleaner" would be excused and excluded from that statement)
     By the way, they did snorkel and hike the Baths, had a beach BBQ, went to Anegada and got the Conga line started, bar crawled on Jost, and did so much more. It wasn’t like they all just laid around reading War and Peace and licking their wounds. Not them, they are The Bruise Cruisers and they'll  be back!
This is one of my all time favorite dishes and since I can find better shitake mushrooms here than at home, I have made it many times. (I think I originally found this recipe in Bon Appetit, but don't quote me.) I made this for the Bruise Cruisers and believe me when I say that there were NO leftovers.
Asian Pasta with Flank Steak

Elvis...oh yes he is guarding the bread basket!


Apr 21, 2011

In Memory of Dad

It was 1 year ago today that my dad passed away. Following is an excerpt of a tribute that I gave at his memorial service. 
  Dad, I miss you everyday.
When I was kid I thought my dad was invincible. He was my hero, and in my eyes he was bulletproof and I always felt safe with him. During those early years we spent a lot of time together; mostly on horseback. I could count on him to rescue me when I was on a runaway horse and he was there to take the slack out of my rope when a waspy cow ran up it. He spent countless hours taking my head loops off the roping dummy and later off of real cattle. He was my team roping partner back in the days when most men didn’t want to rope with a girl. 
     I trusted him so much that there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do if he told me to. I recall a lot of things I didn’t particularly want to do, like being the first one to climb on some young horse that he had snubbed up to his own. “No” was not a word I had ever learned to say to my dad. Unless of coarse the question was “do you want me to kick your ass?”
     Dad taught me life lessons…like to let out the clutch…slowly, and how to handle a rope and a gun; to look on the shady side of a tree for morel mushrooms and where to find asparagus on the river banks. Thanx to him I can operate power tools, a PTO, a calf puller, a wire stretcher and a pressure cooker.
     My Dad was the most generous person that I have ever known. I have seen him give whatever he had in his pocket to a complete stranger or pay for a dinner for someone on a barstool, when he barely had the money to pay for his own.  He was charitable to begging people and begging dogs.
     Dad’s wit was quick and his tongue was sharp. He could cut you with a look and you could lose an argument to him without even opening your mouth. There was no out smart-assing him and he was not someone who you wanted to play a game of chicken with.
     Dad had a knack for turning a serious matter into a trivial one. Like the time I fell off my horse in the barrel racing and cracked my head open on the tail gate of a pickup. I was only unconscious for about a minute and my head did quit bleeding after a couple of hours so I probably really didn’t need medical attention anyway. 
    I have never known my dad to tell a lie. Not even a little white one. He was brutally honest, and he always spoke the truth. At least the truth as he saw it. Example: The first time that Larry had dinner with my family my mother served pancakes and eggs. Well, Larry HATES eggs and I had forgotten to tell mom that. She cooked him two and Larry politely took one, when the plate was passed. As the meal was about finished, dad handed Larry the plate with the one egg left on it and said, “here Larry, this is your egg.” Larry said, “no thanx Gary, I really don’t eat that much”. Dad looked at him for about 2 seconds, still offering the plate and said “You lying bastard, look at the size of you. You can’t tell me you don’t eat much.”  He was NOT a man that you wanted to ask, “do these pants make my butt look big?”
     Dad’s advice was always bankable. I knew I could count on him to give me his honest opinion and he could always make me look at the big picture in life. I was 18 years old when I met Larry and as I was packing my bags to run off with him in a Kenworth truck, I asked Dad, “Any words of advice?” “Yeah”, he said, “for 5 bucks you can marry him and own half that of truck”. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I gotta admit, it’s working out pretty well…so far.
     My Dad was a patient man and never complained when he was the one stuck driving me from Pompey’s to Billings, to the doctor every single day for 2 months, while I was pregnant with Savannah. Years later when I would go to see him in ID, we would sometimes spend the whole afternoon driving around, me going to the grocery store, the pet store, the kitchen store, the potato store, all while he waited patiently in the pickup, never once rushing me or never asking “what took you so long?”
     Dad was old school and mostly resistant to what he considered to be modern day influences, which he felt would surely corrupt the kids—like “DAY CARE”, for example. When I talked about putting Sierra in daycare he poo-poohed, the idea, reminding me that we never went to day care and that it was just “a bunch of bullshit anyway”. He could “babysit” Sierra, he told me. Well, his idea of babysitting and mine were not entirely one and the same. It mostly meant that Sierra ate what, when and if she felt like it, didn’t have to take a nap, didn’t get her butt wiped, and generally spent the day with the dogs, trotting behind dad’s horses. And loving every single minute of it.
     He was a prankster, once putting a dead snake in Sierra’s sleeping bag while she was camping with him. He also told Sierra and Dustin that they would get warts from the horny toads that they had carted home on horseback and had shoved down their shirts and pants, as a means to carry them. The only prevention, he told them was if they rubbed fresh cow shit on any places that the toads had touched them. He watched and laughed at them, as they stripped down to their underwear and followed an old cow around the corral, waiting to get the “cure”.
     Dad was a loving grandfather and with him the kids experienced life in a fascinating way that most kids would never know. There were wagon train rides and camping trips. They cooked rattlesnake over a camp fire and went on questionable hunting trips, ones that usually involved a spot light. They had to “earn” their “Indian names”, which he ceremoniously bestowed upon them. Sierra was happy to be known as “Straight Arrow”, after having earned the name when she became a dead eye with the bow and arrows that her Grandpa had made for her. Savannah was busting with pride when she finally earned hers a short time later. One day she announced to me that Grandpa had finally given her her Indian name—Spills A Lot.
When dad napped the kids would unsnap his shirt and shoot spit wads at him in a game they had made up, called Belly Ball. The kids had the times of their lives with the man they called “Grandpa Coyote”.
     My Dad wasn’t always good with words or praise but he knew how to convey his feeling through his actions. When I was young, it was little things, like saddling my horse for me, adjusting a tie-down or checking my cinch before I rode in the box. As an adult, it was things like making dinner for me and having it ready and waiting when I got to his house in ID. Or making sure he had ½ & ½ on hand, because he knew I drank it in my morning coffee. Calling me “kiddo” and holding my hand for a little too long, as I was getting ready to leave. It was in those gestures that I knew of his love.
     My dad was someone that you knew you could always count on to be himself. His sense of humor was wicked and his word was golden. He was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said. He didn’t change his mind or his opinion.  What you saw with him was what you got and he made no apologies for often being politically incorrect. I appreciate that about him and I loved the fact that he was true to himself to the end.
     Even in his last hours, he joked with the doctor, telling him, and I quote, “I don’t like that god-damn Obama and if he’s gonna be the President, well I just don’t want to live anymore."
     Dad made friends for life and for these past several years, dad has been my friend.  I showed up at his house about every other month with a cooler full of food and then spent 5 or 6 days cooking for him and doting on him. We talked about all the old places that we had lived and the people we knew in those places. He often talked about his Grandpa & Grandma Wyman, regaling me with stories of his childhood and the antics of those naughty Wyman cousins. 
     Dad truly loved the western way of life and admired the men who lived it and loved it as he did. Over prime rib and box wine we reminisced about old relatives, old friends, old dogs and old horses. I was his drinking buddy, who cooks.
     I have a message saved on my cell phone, the last one he left me, which was on March 11th of this year…my 50th birthday.  He called me early in the morning, while I was still in denial about my age and hiding under the covers. He said that I had lived 18,250 days and that every day that I had brought somebody a little sunshine, and that I had “did good”. He wanted to know if I had it “figured out yet…if my tank was half full or half empty.”  Well, I don’t know if I’ll ever figure him out, but I do know that I am thankful to have had him in my life for 50 years.
     I know that he did the best he could for us with what he had. I know that he loved us all, that he worshipped my mother and cherished his grandkids. I know that him and mom are finally together again and for that I am at peace. I know that I will miss him always and I know that he is still my hero.
I hope the grass in greener on the other side,
and He's got good horses to ride.
Gary L. Grimm 
March 4, 1940 ~ April 21, 2010

Apr 18, 2011

Paisley's Men

I never had a grandfather in my life, but I have witnessed the effect that they have on their grandchildren.  The Big Guy was extremely close to his grandpa; a wonderful, silver haired man in lace up boots and inky-blue bib overalls. When The Big Guy was just a Little Guy, he taught him about farming, tractors, land, auctions, and how to strike a good deal. He also helped him buy his first truck. It has been more than 20 years ago since he passed away, but to this day, Big still starts a lot of his sentences with, “My grandpa used to…” These are life lessons that are embedded so deep within him that they can never be forgotten.

When I see Paisley and The Big Guy together I am reminded of how important grandfathers are. I already know that he will teach her to drive a backhoe, tie a bowline and shift a 13 speed transmission. His big hands are the ones that will never spank her. They are the ones that will lift her up on horse or into the cab of a semi. They will wrap around her to steady a rifle that’s pointed at a pop can and they will help her open countless candy and ice cream bars.
Paisley is blessed enough to have four grandfathers who will leave an imprint on her. When she is a toddler her arms will reach up to Grandpa Kim so she can be picked up to see over an arena fence or a sea of cowboy hats.
As a little girl, her small fingers will meet up with crooked ones as they wrap around a golf club so Grandpa Joe can show her how to putt. She will hand him the wrong golf club for the wrong hole but he will take the shot anyway, knowing that she doesn't know the difference between a wood and a 9 iron. 
Later, her small hands won’t be able to stop themselves from pressing a shiny, cool rock to her cheek as she becomes fascinated by her Grandpa Pete’s polished rocks. The same rocks will fill pockets and then later find their way into the washing machine, for which Granpa Pete will take the blame. 
They will curve around the steering wheel of a truck, a boat or some other big piece of equipment, as she sits on the lap of her Grandpa Big and recklessly spins it one direction, then the other. When she is older she will hold the elbow of all these men and help to steady them as they make their way up or down stairs, a hall, a church or a short sidewalk. These men will be wrapped around her finger.
Besides her daddy, these four men will be the most important men in her life for at least the first decade of it. The imprint she leaves on their lives will be like a good scar—the kind that makes you smile at the recollection of how you earned it; a permanent reminder of a joyride taken in years gone by.
     If you are fortunate enough to still have a grandfather in your life, call him or go give him a hug.

This is Rachel Ray's recipe for "Grandpa's Braised Beef." I personally have not made this recipe, but it's looks like Sunday dinner at the grandparents house. Go to the "Recipes" tab at the top of this page to view it.  
Grandpa's Braised Beef

Apr 5, 2011

It's The Least We Could Do

When you own a boat and spend the winter sailing in the Caribbean it's no surprise to find that you have a lot of friends. Our friends, the Langfields, who liked us before we even owned a boat, came down and spent 10 days sailing with us. They actually like us so much that they now want to move to the islands so they can hang out with us all winter. We fully support this wise decision so this was the perfect opportunity to help then in their search for an island home. To give them a proper introduction to the islands, we took them to all of our favorite spots so they could experience what it is that we love about this place. Really, it's the least we could do. 
      From Francis Bay to Anegada we sailed, swam, snorkeled, and soaked up the sun. We also fine-dined on Virgin Gorda , ate the worst fish tacos ever at Saba Rock, endulged in the huge Anegada lobsters, and had some pretty wonderful Pad Thai at Rhumb Lines.  When we weren't eating, we spent most of those ten days in the water. We swam with turtles while snorkeling at Norman Island, saw absolutely nothing while diving at the Playground and splashed in the bubbling pool at Jost.
     We ran bow to stern and side to side, squealing like kids as four dolphins entertained us with their shenanigans when they spent about five minutes swimming alongside the boat. Truly an incredible sight to behold! 
The worst taco's takers
    I may have been the one to blame for the water fight that ended with all of us in the sea, fully clothed. We had just gotten back on the boat after a hike and I squirted Blondie in the face as I was hosing her feet off. Then I had to hose the dog’s feet off, so she pretended to help me, but then proceeded to hose me off—top to bottom. Karmas a biatch! The Big Guy was bailing water out of the dinghy and not paying any attention to us, so I told Blondie to get the bucket and blast him when he got out of the dinghy, which she did, which in turn immediately caused Big to grab her and throw her overboard. Dagwood was standing on the back of the boat laughing at all this, so I walked up behind him and pushed him off. With all 3 of them in the water, fully clothed, laughing and giving me "the look" that said "instigator", I knew there was no way that I was going to be able to save myself from the drink, so I bailed in.
     We did dry off long enough to go to Giorgio’s Table, one of, if not thee best restaurant in the whole BVI’s. I had buttered up Giorgio on a previous visit, so when he offered to let me take a pasta making class with his chef, I was all over it. Blondie and I spent an afternoon making lobster ravioli, pappardelle, tagliatelle, farfalle, tortellini and more. Later that night we went back for what was an amazing dinner.
Yep, that little speck up
there is Dagwood
     By the end of the trip the Langfields were hooked, the deal sealed by the dolphins, so with their impending move in mind, we began the search for property. 
     Well let me tell you that there is not a thing wrong with the housing market in the USVI or BVI’s.  A cool million will still buy you a dump…or a corner lot with nothing on it. 
     Hmmm, maybe they should just buy a boat, Blondie concluded, after all they now officially have boating experience. Dagwood went to the top of the mast which technically makes him a Captain, and Blondie can mix a cocktail while under sail, gracefully get in and out of the dingy without doing a face plant and spell BOAT backwards AND forwards! That pretty much makes them both every bit as qualified as The Big Guy and me! 
The Langfields new boat/RV combo
     Finally on the last day we found the perfect boat-RV combo for them. Not too expensive, and it came with a charming little deck on the back, a hardtop with a TV antenna mounted on it, and even some showy little lattice work.
Blondie, posing beside their new dinghy
Yeah, so the dinghy that goes with it needs a little work but that's to be expected when you  buy used. Unfortunately they had to leave before they could make an offer, but Big and I could see it in their eyes that they really fell in love with that little piece of heaven. We are surprising them by fronting the money and closing the deal on their behalf. They can reimburse us next week. It's the least we could do, I mean what are friends for? We are looking forward to sailing with them in the winter and RV-ing with them in the summer!  Hmmm, I wonder if they will still like us as much.
The happy couple.
Their new boat/RV can be seen in the background.
I'm sure they'll thank us later!
This is a recipe I created one night when I didn't have about half of the ingredients needed to make the recipe that I really wanted to make.  It turned out to be a keeper.  I made it for the Langfields on their last night here.  If they are still speaking to us I'll ask them to vouch for its yummyness!  Go to the "Recipes" tab at the top of this page to view it.
Ginger-Sesame Marinated Shrimp over Pasta
with Wasabi-Butter Cream Sauce