Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Along the Columbia

Today started out a little chilly, but quickly warmed up as I strolled along the Columbia River today. Here are a few photos I took while at Willow Grove enjoying the sun and view.
An empty clamshell dancing in the waves.  
 Remnants of a gull's last stop.

A round pumice stone that looks like a small meteor or moon. The beach is littered with these guys. Actually, all the white little rocks in the sand you see in prev. pictures are pumice. Whenever I see them I think of the great trek they took from the Mt. St. Helens eruption where it was created to where it rests in the sand today.

I love the green on these patches of moss.  

  The water is normally around a foot from the top of these poles when I usually come out here. I've never seen the tide out so low.   

Waves a passing boat created.  

The river gives up many items along Willow Grove.  It amazes me how large some of them are!

I thought this silvery white stump was pretty cool.  It changed to a darker grey depending where I was looking. On the horizon in this same picture you can also see a small snow-capped Mt. St. Helens. It almost looks like a puffy white cloud 

Have you lost a part of your fence? Here it is!

I loved the colors of the bark on these two trees.

Snowy Mount Saint Helens. 

I also took a few pictures of some trees blooming. What a contrast from the picture of Mt. St. Helens!
I welcome the sight of Spring.  It's almost here!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Experimentations with Spices: Paprika

Yesterday I took a trip to the store to replenish and expand on the seasonings I use in the kitchen. This evening I decided to try out one of my new spices. Glancing over my new inventory, I chose to use paprika.  I can't recall ever using this specific one before. Holding up the bag,  it looks like it could be a specimen of fine dust from Mars. The vibrantly red seasoning would seem to possess a fiery mesquite smoky flavour. Although there are many that do, the one I have bought lacks the heat.  Its characteristics are more of a mildly dry sweet flavour. Paprika gives a dishe quite an appetizing quality as well when used as a garnish or rubbed over the meat I've found.
  • 1 Bone in chicken breast
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 3 table spoons of paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 stripped sprigs of thyme (plus a few for on top the chicken)
  • 1 table spoon of basil
  • extra virgin olive oil

Simply place the chicken in a casserole dish and begine to prepare.
Drizzle some olive oil over the chicken and massage all over to thoroughly coat.
In a bowl, mix paprika, basil, thyme, garlic and a pinch of salt.
Take the mixture and rub it all over the chicken breast, making sure to place the mixture under the skin as well.
Slice up the onions and celery any way you like. (I julienned my onions)
Place around the prepared meat and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the oninons and celery with olive oil.
Place a few sprigs of thyme on the top of the chicken.
Cover with foil and cook at 350 in the oven for approximately 45 mins or until done and enjoy.
This is a before picture. 
For show, I put a few celery leaves as garnish. I really enjoyed the dish. The garlic saturated the meat quite well, the chicken was juicy, and the paprika gave it a very subtle flavour. The side of onions and celery really obsorbed the color of the paprika and had a great carmalization over all.  This is one dish I will be making again maybe next time I will finally have friends over for sampling. If anyone tries this dish or have suggestions to improve it, let me know!