Today’s adventure is a day trek, high, high into the mountains of Northern New Mexico.
This one is simply a cooking adventure!
However, I do anticipate that where I am going will not have many people there this time of year. It’s getting cold at elevations now, and this one is at nearly 8,000 ft.
I’m leery of bears, especially with really yummy foods with me, but I plan a campfire. And also, aren’t bears hibernating this time of year?
I have a really complicated menu planned. Why?
I’m experimenting with making different dishes in the wild and experimenting with light and photographs and video.
(All of my photos turned out horrible, by the way. 😂😂😂😂)
I’m learning. I will post some so you can all laugh too. 🤣
This was the planned “experiments” menu:
- Vanilla Cinnamon French Toast
- French Press Coffee
- Scrambled Eggs with Lox and Fresh Dill
- Salad Rolls
- Chipotle in Adobo Braised Chicken Tacos
- Avocado Crema
- Pinto Beans
Weird menu, right?
Like I said, I’m experimenting with cooking – gourmet – over the fire and with my Coleman.
Anyway, here is how the day started: Coffee. This French Press Italian Roast is rich and smooth, heavy.
With a kick. Caffeine.
This is also probably the best photo on this blog, so enjoy. LOL!
Well, it’s almost 9:00AM – time to hit the road!
I’ve planned about an hour and a half drive, as I want to get pretty far into the mountains today, as I said.
Along the way, I stop along the Jemez river – this is early winter in Northern New Mexico. The colors are still glorious yellows and burnt auburns.
After about an hour and 1/2, here I am – pretty far into the mountains and at an elevation of almost 8,000 ft.
So still, I hear slight rustling of wind through the trees, every now and then a rodent scampering.
On the way up were people in trucks, seeking to cut their perfect 2021 Christmas tree. The pine, spruce, and fir are fragrant with dank pine scent.
Most are misshapen bold survivors amongst the few Christmas-tree perfect figurines.
Unloading, I set up my table, Coleman, water jug, and get my fire going.
This is not going easily today due to the cold and dampness. See the snow on the ground? Luckily brought some of my own wood. Good thinking, Gray! 😊👌
Finally going really well now!
I make more coffee.
I don’t know if it was the flavor of my cast iron pan or that the butter melted too quickly over too-hot coals, but my french toast had the flavor of burned butter. Notes to self! Cooking over the campfire is a bit tricky!
I didn’t even bother with a photo. LOL.
At home, to redeem myself, I made french toast the next morning. Here’s how it’s supposed to look:
This one I drizzled with some amazing honey I found recently at No Bull Prime Meats. All of their honey is jarred and labeled by zip code. Talk about specialization!
Link is here:
As you can tell, even with the above, I am working on my photography skills, as I know these are not doing my food justice. Truly a learning curve.
Anyway, on to the scrambled eggs.
I’ll a post a link to the recipe in a bit, but essentially this is just soft scrambled eggs with cream cheese melted in, topped with lox and dill. Yum!
I’m going to skip along here, I’m starting to bore myself.
I did the salad rolls. They were my favorite thing of the day. Recipe forthcoming as well.
These are just finely chopped fresh veggies folded into a dressing of 1/2 mayo and 1/2 sour cream and then spooned into fresh rolls.
Very light and flavorful!
By the way, I am totally alone out here. There is no one out here except for a very occasional car along the nearby road. I am not afraid at all.
Daylight is not difficult for me at all – it truly is the night and the dark.
For some folks, reactions to trauma are like that – they remain isolated to the type of situations in which the traumatic event occurred. For me, it’s at night, when I am alone.
For others, reactions “generalize,” and extend to other types of situations. A panic attack at a train station turns into panic attacks anywhere in public. That’s actually quite common.
Tracking back to the original trauma may help, but also may worsen anxiety and avoidance associated with PTSD and in my opinion, should be done in the context of therapy.
I’m going to start my early dinner.
This recipe is very easy – in fact actually impossible to mess up – and I did not mess this one up today. 🤣
I heat my cast iron skillet over the grill, add a touch of oil and then a large skinless chicken breast (2 medium work as well), which I have lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.
This recipe does not even require browning of the chicken, but I do move the chicken around in the skillet and flip once to ensure it is not sticking.
Then to the skillet I add a whole can of chipotles in adobo sauce and a cup and 1/2 of chicken broth – just enough to almost cover the chicken breast.
Covering tightly with aluminum foil, I let this cook over medium-hot fire coals.
After 40 minutes this is the result: Pretty blurry from my lack of photographic experience with the afternoon slant of fall sunlight, but you can see the chicken is cooked through and liquid evaporated. I do not like my chicken tacos soggy!
This chicken is pull-apart fork tender and I shred simply with my fork along with some of the chipotle (a lot today, as I’m a bit cold) and assemble my tacos. This chicken is spicy, flavorful, and so tender!
After warming my corn tortillas quickly on the fire, I fill with the shredded chicken and chipotles.
And today, I made an avocado crema (1/2 avocado mashed with 1/4 cup sour cream), with which I topped my tacos, and added a bit of diced red onion. Served with my pinto beans made at home and warmed over the fire – yum! Cheers!
Here’s how this looked when I made it at home earlier this year (without avocado).
And these beans – so yum! I cooked the beans at home, topped with a bit of red chile sauce, avocado, cheese, and a fried egg.
The fire is ebbing and I’m heating water and heavy cream to make my Mexican hot cocoa. I would spike this one with whisky, but it is time to head home once this fire winds down.
It’s rich and warms me through to finish this wonderful late fall day.