Fly fishermen are really some of the nuttiest people

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Cooking in the West

In our ranch vacation business, we book a lot of people who have seen A River Runs Through It, and they automatically assume that everyone in Montana is a fly fishing guide. This is hardly the case, but that does not seem to stop many of our guests from buying the perfect Cabela’s fly fishing outfit from the tips of their waders to the top of their “Rip Some Lips” hat, purchasing a two day fishing license, $900.00 worth of rods, reels, flies, and accessories, and expecting us to find them some great water to wet a line.

Now, some of my best friends are fly fishermen or fisherwomen, and my own son wanted to learn to tie flies at the ripe age of 6, but with sincere apologies to them, I have to say in the kindest way--fly fishermen are nuts!

My idea of fishing is to gather some worms, grasshoppers, garlic cheese, corn, marshmallows, Power Bait, sinkers, big old hooks with big old barbs, bobbers, a cooler full of Diet Dr. Pepper, some cookies, my waterproof Kindle (waterproofed by Ziploc), and my fishing chair. My fishing chair is one of my most prized possessions. I don’t think they make them any more, but it is one of those old fold-up chairs with the built-in tackle box. It has a rod holder on one side and a pop can holder on the other. It’s a very deluxe model that set me back $0.25 at a garage sale back in the 80’s.

I grab my $8 Zebco rod with the $12 Shakespeare spin-cast reel (also vintage 1980 something). I find a nice shady or sunny hole depending on the weather conditions. I cast out and settle back to read or nap or just listen to the river. If the fish are a little shy, I will try some WD-40 (It’s made from fish oil you know!) or some of the smelliest Power Bait, and to heck with catch’n release--we are having trout for supper!

The fly fisherman, on the other hand, arrives on the creek bank at daylight. He has to get there early, because it will take him about 2 hours to wriggle into his Caddis waders and get everything assembled, tied on, organized, and ready. He has to put his handcrafted bamboo fly rod (which costs more than my four years of college tuition) together and clamp on a Seigler reel (which costs more than my first two cars combined). Using a magnifying glass, he ties a PMD on a 7X tapered leader that has a test strength about as strong as a cobweb. (How on earth does he expect to drag a trout up the bank and through the willow bushes I ask you?) He is now sweating from struggling into his breathable vortex uniform, but he still has to dig out his vest, landing net, creel, fishing mitts, float tube, really cool and really expensive fishing guide sunglasses, and a fly box that has more cash-out value than my life insurance policy. He looks like he stepped out of an Orvis ad as he sets off for the river.

For the next 10 hours, the fly fisherman races up and down the river casting enough times to wear out his rotator cuff. He flails water, turns over rocks checking the hatch, ties flies, and decorates the overhanging branches with cadisses and muddlers. He takes a break to eat a high protein bar and drink some Gatorade before resuming his arduous sport.

At dark, he returns with no fish, because he released them. (At least that’s what they all say.) He has a fish story about a 4 pound brown that snapped his line; he claims to have caught dozens of fish, but the end result is that he has absolutely nothing to contribute to dinner. Meanwhile, those of us in Zebco land, have been waiting for him to return so we can finally fire up the Camp Chef and stink up a skillet with our mess of fish!

My featured cook this week is the Classified Ads Manager at the Western Ag Reporter, Tracie Moss. Tracie wrote, “I meal prep since I am single, and it is inexpensive and wastes less food. I love to cook, but all the all kids are grown. So on Sundays, I cook once for the week. No dirty kitchen all week. I come home, warm up my food and relax.

Here is one of my favorite meal prep recipes. This stays good in the fridge 3-5 days. I just heat it up. It keeps me full and satisfied and is low carb… .I don’t feel sluggish after eating it. Eggroll in a bowl is aka ‘crack slaw’…cause you can’t stop eating it…so addicting! I use ground beef. I also love my Bobby Parrish chicken and salad recipe. I have never used fennel and was happily surprised how delicious the chicken turned out. Please try this salad, It is the bomb!” Thanks, Tracie!

Tracie’s Eggroll in a Bowl

2 T. sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 C. onion, diced

5 green onions, sliced on a bias

1 lbs. ground pork (can use any ground meat)

1/2 t. ground ginger

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 T. Sriracha or garlic chili sauce to taste

14 oz. bag coleslaw mix

3 T. Coconut Aminos or gluten free soy sauce

1 T. rice vinegar

2 T. toasted sesame seeds

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, and white portion of green onions. Saute until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add ground pork, salt, pepper, and Sriracha sauce, and saute until pork is cooked through. Add coleslaw mix, Coconut Aminos, and rice vinegar. Saute until cole slaw is tender. Top with green onions and sesame seeds before serving.

Keto Chicken and Veggie Lunch

Meal Prep

1 large head cauliflower

12 oz. broccoli florets

1/2 C. no sugar added pickles, chopped

1/2 C. celery, chopped

1/4 C. almonds, chopped

1-2 T. fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 C. red onion, thinly sliced

avocado or grape seed oil

kosher salt and fresh black pepper

For dressing:

3/4 C. mayonnaise (no sugar added)

1/2 large avocado

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 clove garlic, finely grated

1/2 t. hot sauce (no sugar added)

1/4 t. salt and fresh pepper

For chicken:

10 four oz. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 heaping t. each of fennel powder, sweet paprika, and cumin

avocado or grapeseed oil

kosher salt and fresh black pepper

Make spice rub for chicken by combining fennel, paprika, and cumin in small bowl. Mix well and season both sides of chicken with a generous pinch of salt and the spice rub. Drizzle 1 T. oil over chicken and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place cauliflower and broccoli bite size florets on baking sheep. Season with oil, 1 t. salt, and pepper to taste. Shake the pan and bake for 30 to 3 minutes until veggies are well browned. Make the dressing by combining everything in a blender. Add a bit of water if needed for consistency.

Slice the red onion and put in ice water for 30 minutes to remove raw flavor. Drain and add roasted vegetables, pickles, celery, almonds, and parsley. Add enough dressing to coat. Taste test for seasoning, adding more if desired.

Preheat grill pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 T. oil and half the chicken. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, flip, and cook 4 to 5 minutes on the other side. Serve chicken with salad. This meal prep will keep 5 days and is intended to be eaten cold.

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