Is it camping if there’s a microwave?
By admin on Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 | No Comments

We just returned from a sojourn to the mighty Kings Canyon National Park, staying in our 18-foot trailer, fully equipped with a propane fridge, stove and water heater for the tiny shower. If we’d found an electric hook-up, we could have used the microwave.

It struck me as humorous, after all our Girl and Boy Scout troop camping and backpacking and the years we took our kids in successively larger campers on our pick-ups. Our dads had stimulated a love of outdoor life, each having provided us with a compact teardrop trailer for convenience in the 1940s. So, it was poetic justice when the propane tank failed, and we returned to cooking over a wood fire.

For the Summer Solstice, we sat beneath the sugar pines at Sunset Campground and observed lovely Venus sinking into the layers of twilight blues over the central San Joaquin Valley, followed by Saturn, the quarter moon and Jupiter.

On our return to the Central Coast and the Cambria Pines, we traded the western view for a spectacular show of the same planets and waxing moon cascading into the glistening azure of the Pacific. We wouldn’t trade either experience for anything else in the world!

It was great to be back, going through the Guthrie-Bianchini House on Heritage Day, and planning for all the wonderful events, such as the art auction, kitchen tour, Santa Rosa Fiesta, and Fourth of July fun in all the coastal communities.

We had missed the Portuguese Festa in San Luis Obispo, but definitely will join in the festivities July 21 and 22 in Cayucos.

Traditional sopas (a hefty soup of beef, cabbage and onions) will be served on Saturday night, with the dance and Grand March of this year’s Queen of the Festa afterwards. Sunday morning the queen and her court will parade from the Cayucos Veterans Lion’s Hall down Ocean Avenue to St. Joseph’s Church for Mass at 11 a.m. Following the liturgy, they will parade back to the vet’s hall for the “best sirloin barbecue on the coast, complete with all the fixings.” Watch The Tribune for more details.

Last year I gave you the recipe for sopas, so, for a change, here’s one for Azores-style barbecued ribs. Start by roasting sweet red peppers and mashing them with a little olive oil.

Grilled Pork Ribs

5 pounds country style pork spare ribs 5 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon kosher salt Cracked black pepper 1 lemon, juiced 2 tablespoons mashed roasted peppers in oil 1-1/4 cups Mateus rosé wine

Mash the garlic with the salt and pepper and add in the lemon juice and peppers (include red pepper flakes if you like it hot). Score the membrane on the back of the ribs and spread the paste over the meaty side of the ribs. Place in a shallow casserole and slowly pour the wine over. Cover and place in the fridge for two hours, turning at least once so the meaty side gets a good soak.

Drain (reserve the marinade); grill over medium hot coals, turning often for about 45 minutes on each side. Keep basting with the marinade, taking care not to char.

To oven cook, bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for an hour, then broil until the top caramelizes and the inside is tender. Serve with a side of beans simmered with onions, bell peppers and your favorite herbs.