Eggs Mex Benny

Here is a really yummy breakfast.  Eggs Mex Benny. Very much like what we have had at the Delta Diner in Wisconsin.
The biscuits are great by themselves, warm with butter or honey.  An open faced biscuit topped with cheesy scrambled eggs or a poached egg and then a couple big spoons of gravy and some melty cheese, maybe a bit of salsa,  a slice of ripe tomato or avacado is wonderful.
This is my adaptation of a recipie I found on-line.  Thanks to the original poster.
Green Chile Cheddar Biscuits and Chorizo Gravy with Eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar or more
3/4 cup finely diced green chiles, (mild or as hot as you want) Canned is fine.
1 cup well drained whole kernel corn (I like kernals cut from roasted corn on the cob)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
Chorizo Gravy
2 ounces (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
1/2 onion, diced
3/4 cup finely diced green chiles (mild or as hot as you want) Canned is fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped
12 ounces chorizo, chopped (about 3 sausage links or bulk) We like spicy hotter chorizo.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheesy scrambled eggs or poached eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cotija (Monterey jack, or any melty white cheese) cheese
Salsa, ripe tomato, avacado.
What to Do
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese, corn and chiles. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and beaten egg. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and thoroughly combine until the dough forms a ball. 
You can do all of this by hand, of course. Butter lumps in the biscuits melt while baking.
Flour a dry work surface so the dough doesn’t stick to it. Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a medium round cookie cutter (3″ or so) cut out biscuits and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until golden, about 13 minutes. 
Chorizo gravy 
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan and sweat the onions until translucent. Add the chiles and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook until browned. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a light boil over medium to high heat. Simmer for 15 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Adjust the consistency with cream. Season with salt and pepper. 
To serve, plate up the warm biscuits (one or two per serving) and top with eggs, chorizo gravy, cotija cheese and then salsa, tomatoes or avacado to taste.
Pretty darn good.

More from Nehalem Bay State Park, 8/17 – 8/30/2015, Part 4

Bits and Pieces

We walk through the campground every day, often after supper.  There are yurts here, about 24 of them I think.  
They are like tents on platforms but have a simple interior wooden structure.  They have electricity, an electric heater, a table and chairs, a futon like couch/bed and a full sized/twin sized bunk bed.  The outside deck is covered and has a picnic table with a ramp leading up to it.  They are $15/night more than a regular campsite.  There are two where you can have a pet for an extra $10/night.  Every one was occupied every night we were here.
Actually, the park ranger said that every site was reserved and paid for every night we were here.  A very few were vacant but that is because the reservation holder was delayed or did not show up.  If a site is unoccupied for two nights they call to find out if the site can be released.  Even the camping area for hikers and bikers was mostly full every night.
There are many here from British Columbia.  Three of the five campground hosts are from BC.  Lots from Washington.

And cats seem to get special attention.
One day we drove down to Garibaldi at the north end of Tillamook Bay.  It is a big fishing port.  Lots of boats and a great restaurant for fresh fish, the Fisherman’s Corner and a good place to buy fresh fish, the Garibaldi Cannery.  We stopped there to get crab, four 2 lb crabs to be exact.  And it was about $80.  They were cooked and on ice.  The lady who was working that day had her nine year old daughter helping out. The young gal finished cleaning the crab (remove the top shell and the nasty bits inside and on a few, the nasty bits outside). We loaded it into a cooler and headed for Judy and Bruce’s place.  Sorry no pictures were allowed. The table was covered in several layers of the New York Times, plates, drinks, bowls full of crabs ready to be torn asunder and bowls at the ready to receive the refuse. It was so messy that no one wanted to touch their camera. It was all fingers, fists, wrists and elbows until the poor fellows had given their all. And empty bowl on one side, shards filled the other bowl. I think they had to hose off the deck after we were done.
Eggs Mex Benny
Susan and I made Eggs Mex Benny one morning for the four of us. They are a fluffy, buttery buttermilk biscuit with sharp cheddar cheese, roasted corn and spicy chopped green chilis topped with cheesy scrambled eggs or poached eggs and a bold chorizo sausage gravy, a melty white mexican cheese and salsa.

The table (cleaned after the attack of the crab eaters) ready in full color.

And Eggs Mex Benny.  Yum.

Wanda’s for Breakfast
A local favorite is Wanda’s in Nehalem mostly for breakfast but lunch too. We got there at 10:00 hoping for breakfast at 10:30.  If was closer to 10:45.  Which is pretty normal.
No need to be impatient.  No more pictures, just eating. It was worth the wait.


Cool hot poster. There was a great burrito shop.  Giant two person burritos for $6.50.  No sales tax in Oregon.
Stormy Weather
And the last couple days we were here it was stormy.  
But the deer fawns don’t seem to mind.
We are leaving in the morning and are almost all ship shape and Bristol fashion.  A couple quick things in the morning and we will be ready for a 9 ish departure.  Off towards Bend, OR then Ontario, OR then Idaho Falls, ID and finally up to the Grand Tetons National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  Four days on the trail, trying to avoid where we have been and the fires.
Lots more from there, I hope the internet connections and speed are better.
Roger and Susan


More from Nehalem Bay State Park, 8/17 – 8/30/2015, Part 3

Riding the Trails

Nehalem Bay State Park has lots of different parts.  Camping, the beach … miles of beach, an airport, the bay, fresh water fishing, salt water fishing, a boat launch, a day use area and access to the ocean from the river mouth at the south end of the park.  And then you can ride your bike or walk into Mazanita, less than two miles away.  There is a nice bike trail through the park too.

Most of it is paved, the rest, gravel. It goes through the small inland sand dunes that are covered in many kinds of grasses (Scotch Broom and European beachgrass) and pine trees (Shore and Maritime).
These plants cover the low dunes between the campgrounds and the bay and the high dunes between the campground and the ocean beaches.
The trail comes out on the bay.

And the river.
And the airport runway.

And then back into the campground where everyone seems to bring everything.

Including a refrigerator.
Lots of folks have boats and crabbing equipment.  The commercial season is over but not for individuals.  And they are catching and cooking crab.  Probably the reason for the refrigerator.
And then out to the beach for some kite flying.  Very windy this evening. Cool.


And Bruce

And the string.
And the sun goes down on another day.

More later,
Roger and Susan

More from Nehalem Bay State Park, 8/17 – 8/30/2015, Part 2

Riding the Rails

There is a small railroad, The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, located at Garibaldi at the north end of Tillamook Bay.  They have train rides that go south along the bay, north past Rockaway Beach up to Nehalem and from Wheeler on Nehalem Bay up the Salmonberry River. Some of these are just rides, some are dinner rides, some are in open cars and some in old passenger cars.
We signed up for the three hour trip from Wheeler up the Salmonberry river.  You can get a box lunch provided if you want or bring your own.  We brought our own.  We got to Wheeler (about 5 miles from the campground) at the appointed time and the conductor told us that the trip up the Salmonberry River had been scrubbed due the the high risk of fire.  But they we going to go up the Nehalem River, the route they take for their Fall color trips.  We could go on that one or get our money back.  Well, we were all there ready for a train adventure so all aboard!

The engine was a 1960’s Great Northern Locomotive. It got stranded on the Oregon coast twenty years ago when a landslide took out the tracks heading north, its only way out.  So it was stuck down here for many years. The Scenic railroad finally had a chance to buy it and get it running again.
They also have three operating steam locomotives.
Off we went. 
More exciting for some than others.
Through the woods and valleys.
Yes, that is smoke, lots of smoke, enough to make your eyes water and your throat raspy.  Massive fires in Washington, more than 1/2 million acres are burning.  A huge fire near Bend Oregon and the even bigger John Day fire in central Oregon.  This past winter’s snow pack in the mountains was about 10% of normal, much less rain in the coastal mountains and the Willamette Valley and much warmer than normal temps. 
We ate our lunch on the way up the valley.  We got as far as we could and stopped.  The engine disconnected and switched on to a parallel siding and backed down hill and then came up behind the train to reconnect so that they could pull us back down.  That was the plan anyway.

The front of the locomotive couldn’t connect to the other end of the train. So after several tries they went back around to the front of the train, connected there and pushed us back down.  Took some extra time but who was in a hurry.

When we got back to Wheeler …
Susan and I went to visit an Art Deco antique store.  What a knock out! The owner claimed he had the largest collection of Art Deco collectable stuff in the US.  No way to judge but there was room after room of amazing stuff.  We are familiar with the style, not exactly our style or time frame of preference, but this was amazing.  
And there was a fantastic fabric shop where Susan spied some old style heavy oil cloth that she figured would make a great picnic table cloth.  The store was mostly about quilting, hundreds and hundreds of bolts of beautiful quilting fabrics, lots of quilts hanging on the walls, a sewing machine near the front window busy sewing. They had some silky soft faux-leather upholstery fabric that caught my eye. 
So another adventure.  It makes us want to take the train from Duluth up the North Shore, something on our list for a long time, something we will do sooner than later now.
More later,
Roger and Susan

More from Nehalem Bay State Park, 8/17 – 8/30/2015

Wow, almost two weeks here at the Oregon coast have flown by.  It seems like we have been busy all day, every day.

I am going to try to catch up.  Judy and Bruce left yesterday.  They have a big wedding to go to.  We spent most of yesterday on the beach.  Internet access and speed here is not great especially uploading so I am goimg to try to do a few shorter blog entries (what I was planning on doing all along but busy got in the way).

Hug Point 
One day we drove up to Hug Point.  Parking was very limited and we were there at low tide, a popular time.  When the tide is out you can walk around two points to the north, each revealing another beach and one to the south.  Many years ago before there were roads along the coast and travel was mainly along the beaches a road was blasted through one of the points to let wagons through.  You can still see where the road went.

Well sort of.  On the left you can see the notch where the road went through the rocks.  Big high cliffs here and lots of caves.

There is a waterfalls here too but it has been so dry around here that the little dribble hardly made the rocks wet.

Most of this coastline is volcanic in history.  The Pacific tectonic plate is pushing under the coast line, push it up, bending it, folding it and forcing the coastal mountain range up.  Mount St Helens is maybe 100 miles from here.
We brought a picnic and our kites.  Not much wind though.
Hunter (12) needed something other than his phone to do.  So I took the two walking sticks and stuck them in the sand about 30 ft apart and said “Lets play horseshoes!”.  Hunter says we don’t have horse shoes so I say lets use sandals.  OK.  After some negotiation about how many points we were going to play to we got started. It took several tosses before we started to get the hang of it, how to hold the sandal, how much oomph it needed.  The game was on.  We were almost to the end of the first game and I said this is just the first round, wait until you see the second one.  So after round one, round two was the same game but we had to face the other way and toss the sandals backwards and over our heads.  Why not?  Nothing beats fun for having a good time.

See the flying sandal?  That is a round with Bruce.  It was fun and different.  Maybe a bit goofy but just what two people whose average age is 39 needed to do.

More later,
Roger and Susan

Nehalem Bay State Park, 8/17 – 8/30/2015

We made the long drive (35 miles) from Netarts Bay north up to Nehalem Bay State Park. This park is right on the ocean (a dune between the campground and the beach) and has 307 campsites, a large horse camp, a small airport and airport camping and many miles of ocean beach. Nehalem Bay is where the Nehalem River flows into the ocean. There is fresh water fishing in that part of the bay.

Right near the park is the small town of Manzanita and the smaller town of Nehalem and the even smaller area called Neahkahnie. My sister, Judy, and her husband, Bruce, own a quarter share of a beach house in Neahkahnie. They are here now while we are at the State Park and their son Eric’s family (Cyndi, Victoria and Hunter) are with them through this weekend.
At the beach house it is a lot of interaction with mobile devices.
I did manage to get Hunter and Bruce to fly kites.

The campsites are reasonbly well spaced and have trees. Our site has shade almost all day long.

The beach is just over the dune on a path that starts out in the trees, climbs over the dune and then out on to the beach.
The beach here is several miles long and very wide and flat.  Even with the dune between us and the surf we can hear it all night long.  Nice.
Judy and Bruce’s place is up towards the far end of the beach in Neahkahnie.  They are one street up from the beach and have a great view.

The other end is a long way away.  

We walked almost to their place along the beach and back one day.  That was a 14,000 step day.  The next day we walked out from the State Park and into Manzanita and then to their place all along the bike route so we knew where that went.  That was a 15,000 step day.
We saw deer along the way on a watered lawn.  They seem completely unconcerned with people.
We had a campfire and a weenie roast the day before the state wide burning ban went into effect.  I baked home made hot dog buns as an experiment.  They were good.
More to do, more to come, Later.
Roger and Susan

Netarts Bay, OR 8/15-8/17/2015

“Saturday morning. The sun is out. Off to the Farmer’s Market in Tillamook.  It was about half farm stuff and the rest craft things.  I got a nice wood block printed T-Shirt.  I just don’t have enough of them. And corn and beans and tomatoes and blue berries and black berries and peaches, oh my! It was a whole block of near downtown Tillamook both sides of the street.  There was music and ready to eat hot food too.

Just up Hwy 101 there was an old time power show.  So we stopped there as well.  Lots of old cars and trucks. But the stars of the show were old stationary gasoline engines from the late 1800s and early 1900s and lots of old tractors from the first half of the 1900s.

This was a fire department water truck.
And a 1939 John Deere.  Looks just like the one in a Foyle’s War episode.

And a spectacular 1951 Dodge Power Wagon with front and rear engine driven winches.  Very brutish looking.

And many single cylinder stationary gasoline engines. The box on the top with the hole in it held water for cooling. A governor would limit the speed by only allowing the engine to fire about once every 15 revolutions.  As it started to slow down the governor would allow the intake valve to open and the engine would fire, “chug”  and the the flywheel would keep spinning, and what ever it was hooked to kept working.  Water pumps were very common.  A gallon of gasoline would last almost two days of continuous use. 

You can see and hear one of these engines run on youtube.
Here is a gasoline engine driven Maytag washer.  There were many of the engines for these around but just this one functional washing machine.

And a Minneapolis Moline tractor.

Then we drove up the coast a bit to Garibaldi where we had a very nice lunch of local fresh caught fish.  This is a working harbor with lots of fishing boats.  They seem to mostly favor very large outboards.  Getting out of the harbor and through the surf looks challenging.

This 26′ boat had two 350 hp outboards.  There was another of similar size with two 400 hp engines.

Sunday we went to the beach.  It felt good to be on the beach.  The ocean is beautiful here, bright blue sky, white clouds and very green hillsides behind us.
Our beach chairs worked well.  We brought a lunch and enjoyed a day doing not much else.
Tomorrow we move about an hour north to Nehlem Bay State Park.
More later,
Roger and Susan