Monday, July 27, 2015

Donnelly Dome, and more couchal photos

Last Friday, I decided to personally deliver some parts for some work I am doing in Delta Junction. I wanted to make sure they'd all fit before I cut the contractor loose, and I also wanted to enjoy the pretty drive and a hike up Donnelly Dome with the ladies. So I got up early and packed them into the car with my daypack, extra water, snacks, and boxes of parts and took off.

Donnelly Dome is a unique geological feature, a fleigberg that the glaciers, when they retreated and scraped the rest of the valley clean flat, somehow left alone. It's only 3910 feet in elevation, from its base of 1500ish feet, making for a climb of only 2400 feet. However, those 2400 feet occur in two miles, with no switchbacks. You just charge up the mountain. I've often seen moosey tracks along and near those trails that imply to me that the creatures are far more nimble and agile than their size and lumbering gait suggest.

Photo from the trail head:

And the view halfway up:

The ladies:

Sammich time!

Unfortunately, the timing of this sammich and the shortness of the hike precluded a visit to the best drive-in burger joint evar, the Buffalo Drive-In. Their hamburgers are from local Delta Junction-raised beef, and their fries are to die for. They also have unsweetened ice tea, which is not easy to find this These United States!

Here are some couchal photos from home:

Booger in a sunbeam:

Starbuckeroo in her second favorite spot:

Miss Autumn:

This summer is going oddly, with everything ripening early. Blueberries, raspberries, aqpiks, and our treasured tiny patch of the magical, mystical nagoonberries are already ripe, a full week ahead of schedule. The high-bush cranberries are also ripe (although I don't care for them and leave 'em be), these over a month ahead of schedule. The low-bush cranberries are already appearing, although we aren't supposed to pick them until after the first frost... so what are we supposed to do if they ripen before then? I'm not sure.

Anyway, I picked all of the raspberries from my tiny, wild patch:

And mixed them with sugar and rhubarb and made six little empanada-like thingies, like this:

Then I proudly presented them to DL and informed him that yes, I had actually used bleached white flour, but that I was giving half of them away. No diabetes for us! My next pastries will be back to whole-wheat and sandpaper-like. :)


Rena said...

mmmmm, healthy sandpaper.
Yup, everything's ripening too fast down here as well. I have an orange pumpkin in my yard. Are blueberries related to cranberries, then? I had heard of lowbush and highbush blueberries, but hadn't heard there were similar types of cranberry bushes. or perhaps you told me before but my sieve-like brain had forgotten?

As for delicious fries, there's a place near us that makes fairly good burgers and fries - a growing chain called SmashBurger. In any case my cousin brought some over, and within minutes we had decided that the fries were fried in beef tallow - that's what makes them so tasty. That's also the frying fat of choice for Donut wheel, next door to Apple. I'm sure their vegetarian customers have NO idea. I happened to see them throwing away the packages into the dumpster one late night.
I think this move to beef tallow is because of the bans and general no-no attitude towards transfat.

Arvay said...

Rena, Alaskan blueberries are not "true" blueberries, but they are reputed to be super high in nutrients and anti-oxidants; they are marketed separately, as "wild Alaskan blueberries". Alaskan low-bush cranberries are what the rest of the world calls lingonberries and are definitely related to "true" cranberries. They even self-gel when you make sauce... you can use them to make that moulded cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving that goes "schlooop" when you unmould it. :)

Highbush cranberries are definitely something else entirely, not really cranberries at all, although they have a similar flavor. They typically ripen in fall, when the leaves turn into bright autumn colors, the air is cool and moist, and they make the woods smell damp and rotty. My friend M here hates that smell, LOL. I think they smell a bit like sweaty gym socks, so I see her point! Here is a pdf on Alaskan highbush cranberries:

You need to be careful with Alaskan names. They misname all kinds of things! I've even heard our crowberries called "blackberries" which is wrong wrong wrong and offends my California heritage. :)

As for beef tallow fries, I recall when McDonald's stopped using beef tallow so their fries would be vegetarian-friendly. They had long been making tallow-free fries in their Indian stores, but needed to develop a whole new recipe that would work for an American palate. I wonder what it was? Probably hydrogenated oils and petrochemical waste products. :)

mdr said...

Please use the 100% whole wheat flour, organic if possible. Tell DL it is for his health or he can buy white flour pastries at Freddy's. Loving someone is not to hurt the one's health, this applies to you to him AND he to you. Thank you.

All berries are great :-)

Arvay said...

@mdr, my opinion is that a single white flour pastry in two years is permissible. :)

I do believe that my phrasing, "... I had actually used bleached white flour, but that I was giving half of them away... My next pastries will be back to whole-wheat..." implied that whole wheat was the standard for us, and that white flour was the exception. I also recall a loving mother who bought my sister and me birthday cakes, biscuits from KFC, goldfish crackers, and other occasional goodies that used bleached flour. :)

b said...

Have you tried King Arthur's white whole wheat flour? (Yes, there's such a thing!) I buy it all the time and it's great.

P.S. Mdr (and the mainstream media, also keeping in mind this was before the internet) didn't even know it was better to eat whole grains back then. We ate white flour all the time! Think noodles and pasta and rice, all white. I think it was Guy heem who introduced brown rice eventually!

b said...

And who could forget my whole wheat crust chicken pot pie! (I think this was in high school.) Delish! (NOT!)

Arvay said...

@b, I still don't think that white flour even once a week won't do any harm. :)

Also, I remember your chicken pot pie! I make one now where the crust is biscuit dough instead of pie crust. Biscuit dough lends itself better to whole-wheat-ification. :)