Sunday, January 25, 2009

Of Place Names & Pot Roasts

This is one of those weird days on the Internet. Not Major weird, just You're-Starting-To-Piss-Me-Off weird. I'm talking about the Comments feature, specifically. Twice I tried to respond to comments for yesterday's post and twice Blogger informed me I couldn't do it. Piffle and phooie. I'm doing a quarterback sneak here and getting another post in place, to boot. Take that, Blogger!

John, you mentioned signs of Spring. Well, I have an even more dramatic harbinger -- just downloaded the online catalog from Tomato Bob's place. There is nothing that gets me more spring-oriented than photos of luscious 'maters of all sizes and colors. Looking through the catalog, one has the urge to sit there with a salt shaker, that's how tempting the pictures are.

Kate, I think there are some place names that take hold in lots of different places. Sugarloaf is certainly one and, for the record, we have a Bald Mountain here, too (without the "y").

Bonnie, you did see Humbug when you were here. You just didn't realize it. See the photo above of Battle Rock? Now, picture this in your mind's eye -- as we stand there facing Battle Rock, you know that just over the bluff to our right is the cove with the dock and jetty. The same southbound view as from Battle Rock, just a slightly different angle. Got it?

Now ... if you shift your gaze just a teensy little bit to the left (which translates to the photo below) -- wallah! There is ol' Humbug, slightly different angle than yesterday's picture from the dock but same distinctive shape. As we stood there, Highway 101 was directly behind us. It wanders south out of town and winds its way along the coast for the six miles it takes to reach Humbug -- which is a state park. There are excellent camp grounds and hiking trails, old growth timber, temperate rain forest flora, including rhododendrons up to 30 feet tall and if you manage to hike to Humbug's top, you can have a picnic, break out the binoculars and do a little whale watching.

I'm not in Port Orford today so I can't say for sure -- I suspect, however, Humbug has a solid cap settled on its brow because it's been overcast and drizzly since the wee hours of 'o-dark-thirty. As a form of retaliation, I have a chunk of beef roasting away in the portable oven. I'll have all afternoon to figure out what sublime things I'm going to do with it.

About that oven -- I imagine you are all familiar with the big roasters one usually thinks about when one mentions such things. You know -- the monsters our mothers hauled out at Thanksgiving and Christmas, when oven space is so crucial, and then had to figure out where to store its bulk the rest of the year. Which is why I never bothered getting one. Way too big and bothersome for me.

Until I discovered, very recently, they make the durned thangs in smaller sizes! Well, as they say in the south, "Butter my butt and call me biscuit." That puts a whole different light on things. I did a lot of research and ended up with a six-quart Nesco that I am learning to love. Just the right size to roast a chicken but not so big it's a counter-space hog. Uses way less electricity than the regular oven and is definitely easier to clean. Has the full temperature control range -- I can use it like a slow cooker, like a regular oven or like a steamer. I'm told it doesn't brown like a regular oven -- at least for some things -- but there are work-arounds for that. All in all, I find myself grinning a lot when I use it. That's a good sign.

Now, if I could just figure out how to download some luscious vine-ripened 'maters from Tomato Bob's web site, I'd be truly in 'em.


bonnie said...

I just had to pull out my Oregon cd and look at Port Orford. Well I have 3 pictures of Battle Rock on it but I guess I got none of humbug. Should I steal yours? rotfl

I must look for a cooker as I can't bend to use my oven any more. Oh wait, where would I store it? I don't have your lovely pantry!

Dee said...

Let's see if I'll be allowed to comment this time ...

Bonnie, you're welcome to the picture if you want it. Steal away!

As for storage space for the cooker, the 6-qt size doesn't take up a lot of room. How's your counter space? Because the cooker looks fine, just sitting out.

Maggie said...

I have the smallest kitchen in the condo world. No room for anything on any counter but the coffee pot and coffee grinder. I bought stainless tubular shelving at IKEA so I would have more shelving.

So lovely.

Dee said...

Ouch. I know what you mean, Maggie. The main "counter space" in my kitchen is a fold-out picnic table. Hey. It works. (smile)

kate et jim said...

Well - I didn't get a notify for this one, Dee. But no matter - I stopped by anyway! ha!

Lovely pics - and I went to the site that 'the old guy' suggested and got to see some lovely panoramic views. Beautiful.

I've got a pot roast out for cooking today, also. I'm going to brown it up nice in the cast iron fry pan, then shove it in the oven for a few hours with some veggies. Mmmmmm.

bonnie said...

I have no counter space. None! Galley kitchen.

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