As no doubt y’all know, yesterday was the third annual Cowboy Day Cook-Along – hosted by the wonderful and charming Greg Swenson over at Recipes4Rebels. And if you know me, then you also know I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
This year, however, was a bit different than the previous two I’d celebrated. This one was spent at the ol’ Wolfe Island ranch – which means that I was surrounded by a good deal of water and so was a tad cut off from the kind of shops that have fancy ingredients for fixing your vittles. But as it turned out, I had some rice, corn and three avocados in the larder – not to mention, two decent steaks – and so I had the basics for a few of the cowboy classics I’ve whipped up in the past.
So here we go – this was my my menu for the event:
Eddie Albert’s Guacamole
L. Q. Jones’ Cowboy Corn
Ronald Reagan’s California Rice
Eddie Albert’s Guacamole:
I was pretty excited to have another go at Eddie Albert’s Guacamole after my disappointing 2016 attempt. That year, something strange had happened to my avocados and they were all hard as rocks. So, I was pretty pleased (and not a little cocky) yesterday when I squeezed my avocados and they each yielded softly to my touch. (This description is sounding kinda creepy, isn’t it? Sorry.) But you know what? It was all LIES! The first avocado I cut into was absolutely rotten and brown inside. With a little groan borne of fear, I quickly cut into the next one – argh! It was absolutely stiff through the center, with just a ring of soft flesh inside the peel. Oh no … this was not boding well. Crossing my fingers (mentally, of course) I sliced into the last one. And oh thank goodness! The third was just perfect. Tender and pale green, the third was the Goldilocks and the Three Bears of them all: it was just right. And so, I was able to produce a fairly decent guacamole that was topped up with extra Roma tomatoes to make up for the piddly avocado quotient.
L. Q. Jones’ Cowboy Corn:
Last year I was following a pescaterian diet (translation: eating only fish) and so had given L. Q.’s corn a miss as it’s made with a liberal dose of bacon fat. But this summer, I’ve dropped the fish bit and have been eating anything and everything that walks past me, so there was no way I was going to leave Cowboy Corn off the menu. Also, one thing Wolfe Island does well is bacon. You can sidle up to the counter at Fargo’s General Store here and order it from the butcher counter like any ol’ cowpoke might’ve in ages past. And it is glorious. So this year I decided to not only use bacon fat but also the bacon itself in the recipe.
Incidentally, if you’re going to be making this Cowboy Corn, here’s a pro-tip for you: Don’t try to test the corn right out of the pot as it’s cooking because those little kernels coated in sizzling bacon fat are like balls of flame. Sure, they’re mighty tasty but then efferthingth really hurths afther thath.
Ronald Reagan’s California Rice:
Considering he was neither my favourite actor nor politician, it’s funny that I chose to make Reagan’s rice again. Though considering how far I had to stray from the recipe, due to a lack of key ingredients, I’m not sure it actually counts as his. For one thing, I had no sour cream or cottage cheese. Also, I only had Basmati rice on hand and I’m fairly certain he’d of said “huh?” if he’d ever heard the word. But what I did have was some fresh cheddar cheese curds, and so I minced them up mighty small and mixed them into the steamed rice. Then I seasoned it with garlic salt and cumin – and let me tell you, that was some ooey-gooey goodness right there. Mmmhmm, this version’s a keeper.
As a main, I chose to make some steak fajitas, which seem like pretty legit cowboy food. I grilled up a mess of red onion, mushrooms, sweet peppers, zucchini and jalapenos while I tossed the steaks on the BBQ.
Once everything was all nice and caramelized and I was coughing a bit from the roasted Jalapeno vapours, I added them to some warmed tortillas along with the sliced steak and a few dollops of the guacamole.
With my Cook-Along spread now ready, I rang the old lunch bell to summon the resident cowpoke in from the field – or, as is the case here at Wolfe Island ranch, over to the dock to eat.
You’ll notice that there are two plates in front of Ryan – that’s because he loved the rice and corn so much he finished off my share. He even had a second massive fajita! Boat-house work is evidently hungry-making work.
So all in all, this year’s Cook-Along was a great success. Thoroughly contented with it all (minus the jerky avocados) I was able to kick back and relax with a full, happy tummy:
I’m already looking forward to next year when I will hopefully, finally, do justice to Eddie Albert’s guacamole.