Thursday, April 30, 2009
The camp has immediate need for two cooks and one prep cook. An ad in the Gold Country Craigslist reports that the positions run from June 29 to August 2, 2009. The job may be extended to August 17 is there's a need.
In addition to room and board, the cooks are paid $1,800 per month. The monthly salary for the prep cook is $1,600. Submit your resume to email@example.com if interested in one of the positions.
"The Silver Lake Campers Association is a nonprofit group that has worked to support the City of Stockton’s operation of Silver Lake Family Camp for more than 50 years," reports their website. "In the past, the Association has provided 'those little extras' that enhance the Family Camp experience."
City officials recently approved the association's proposal to operate the camp in the wake of the city's decision to not open the facility this year.
Fears that the "facility would fall into disrepair and be subjected to vandalism if the city stopped operating the camp even for a year" prompted the group to shift its focus from fund raising to operating the camp, reported a March 24, 2009 article at Recordnet.com.
The City of Stockton has operated the camp since it opened in 1922 under permit with Eldorado National Forest.
"Wouldn't you like to spend your off time fishing, hiking or just relaxing in this scenic area?" asked the job ad.
But Cal Fire's fleet of North American-Rockwell OV-10A air attack aircraft and Grummun S-2T air tankers were busy preparing for fire season. As I listed to one of the air operations frequencies, I heard the pilots talking back and forth as they coordinated practice runs at two target areas.
The pilots of Air Tankers 80, 86, 89, 94 and 95 took turns dropping their loads at practice areas located near Georgetown and Bear Valley. Meanwhile, Air Attacks 120, 340 and 460 were in the air as well.
We'll soon be listening to these same pilots as they drop their cooling loads on real fires over the sky's of El Dorado County.
In the picture, Cal Fire Tanker 88 runs up the center of the 2008 Clay Fire in Placerville, California, and drops its load of fire retardant on Division Mike, a group of fire engines led by Diamond Springs Fire Chief Todd Cunningham (Chief 8100). Division Mike was assigned to suppress the head of the fire as it ran up a ravine toward a cluster of houses.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Howdy from Cee Dub & Pen:
When I wrote last we were putting the finishing touches on our new cookbook and getting ready for our winter tour. The new book, Gather 'Round the Table with Cee Dub, came off the presses just as we started our tour the third week of January. Our tour consisted of nine different venues in nine weeks. After 80+ demonstrations and 7,000+ miles, we took a couple of weeks off to catch our breath.
Last year's sky-high fuel prices, along with the economic down-turn, has impacted Cee Dub's as it has most small businesses. Shortly after getting back to Texas, both Pen and I were offered full-time employment on a different ranch than the one we'd been at since moving to Texas the fall of 2006. Given the current economic situation it made good sense to accept the offer.
But ... as a result the two clinics currently scheduled for May 2009 will be the only ones we'll have this year. So, with Mother's Day, Father's Day, Graduations, and Weddings coming up, now would be a good time give a gift to your favorite DO cook and sign up.
2009 Clinics, Our New Book, & Tuning Up Dutch Ovens
When I, the author, and Pen, the publisher, send a new manuscript to the printer, the apprehension we feel is somewhat like waiting for the birth of a child before the days of ultra sounds. As with a baby you want it to be perfect.
The printing process takes a certain amount of time and there is nothing the author or publisher can do to make it happen any faster. The editing, tweaking of the manuscript, spell checking, and proof reading is over and there is nothing to do but wait.
The thrill of opening that first box right off the delivery truck and seeing the "baby" for the first time is a very fulfilling moment. But, the apprehension we feel as the "parents" continues until we receive the "reviews."
The cookbooks were literally hot off the press when we set them out on the display table at the start of our first sportsmen's show in Pasco, Washington on January 16, 2009. By the last day of the show some folks had already read the book cover to cover and came back to us with their comments. Trust me we were, and are, as proud as new parents when folks tell us it's our best cookbook yet!
Given the current economic state in the country right now, we believe, as the author and publisher, that it is the right book at the right time. In our travels this winter we talked to lots of folks who want to lower their food costs, and processing one's own meat is a great way to cut costs and end up with a superior product. But, all is not all doom and gloom! The section on Hillbilly Cookin' will bring a smile and show folks just how much fun outdoor cookin' really can be. It's a great addition to any cookbook collection or camp library.
We've been teaching Dutch oven cookin' for twelve years and cannot count the friends we've made in those clinics. More than a few recipes in our cookbooks actually come from folks who have taken our clinics. A personal benefit for Pen and me is the knowledge we gain from the folks who come to attend our clinics.
With us both holding full-time jobs now for the first time in ten years our opportunity to teach clinics will be curtailed. We still have openings in both our Round Top and Hunt, Texas, clinics next month. We're not saying this is your last chance to attend a Cee Dub clinic, but it's a sure thing that we'll be teaching fewer clinics in the foreseeable future.
Register for Your Dutch Oven Clinic
With the weather getting nice, it's time to get those Dutch ovens out of the shed or garage and get them ready for some great new recipes and summer fun. Here are some things I do to tune up our Dutch ovens when they've been in storage a long time.
1. If I smell a rancid grease odor when I remove the lid I place the DO upside down on my propane camp stove and turn the burner on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. It doesn't get hot enough to take the seasoning off but it quickly eliminates that rancid odor.
2. Check the lid fit. If food debris has built up on the inside flange of the lid, just clamp the lid handle in a bench vise and clean the inside flange with a wire brush.
3. Wipe each oven and lid inside and out with a very thin film of Camp Chef Cast Iron Conditioner and you're ready to cook!
Have a great time cooking with your Dutch ovens this summer, try out some new recipes from the new cookbook, and remember to check out our 2009 summer clinics on our website!
May yer grub never burn!
Butch & Pen
Monday, April 27, 2009
Cash is the one thing that has stopped me. Instead, I've settled for a twenty-first century re-creation of chuckbox and modest collect of iron.
As I'm Randy can attest, it's be an expensive hobby. In addition to the wagon, Randy bought a large, two-axle covered trailer to haul the chuckwagon from place to place. That means upgrading his truck to a F350.
Remember, before you venture out and buy an authentic nineteenth century chuckwagon, you must have a VISA card. Otherwise, you'll be singing, "Stuck in Lodi again ...."
Sunday, April 26, 2009
According to organizer Gary House, about 100 Dutch oven enthusiasts registered for the three-day event. Many camped in RVs and tents in a section of the campground reserved for the event. Others, like myself, came for the day and cooked for the Dutch oven gathering (known as a DOG) at 6 p.m.
The high point of the day for me was the opportunity to walk around Randy Brown's nineteenth century chuckwagon. The chuckwagon is the original American mobile kitchen.
I didn't get many details from Randy, so you'll have to settle for photos of the chuckwagon.
Randy Brown stands behind Colleen Sloan as she teaches a class. The long canopy could stretch from the chuckbox to the fire pit if necessary. It shaded the cook on long, hot cattle drives on the mid-western prairie and protected the grub from the elements.
The kitchen was located in the back-end of the wagon, where the wagon cook worked. Basic staples, like dried beans, flour and dried apples were stored in the chuckbox in its shelves and drawers. Utensils and some pots and pans were stored in other cubbies. The cook transported larger pots in the boot below the chuckbox.
Every mobile kitchen needs a supply of fresh water. Each time the wagon crossed a creek or river, the cook ladled water into the barrel. I would imagine it helped to scoop water out of the creek long before the cattle crossed.
Friday, April 24, 2009
The tall wildflower, with its cobalt-blue spikes reaching for the sky, seem to grow in most any spot where they can soak up the warm rays of sunlight. I found this patch among a series of old mine tailings from the California Gold Rush.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
But these passages have a way of being elevated into your life through trials like the death of a father. Take 1 Timothy 5:8, for instance. Other than to watch my mother and father care for their mothers in their declining years, I never gave much though to the meaning of Paul's instruction to the young preacher Timothy:
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8)The need to "provide for his own" is one truth that brings out one's faith in God. It's the manifestation of that truth this is used to reveal how thoroughly you have embraced your faith. This is especially true when your mother's widowhood is thrust upon you a little faster than desired.
I'm certain these past 18 months since dad's death have impacted myself and my brothers and sisters in different ways. We've all cried at various times since the funeral. And I'm sure that the five, along with our spouses and children, miss dad very much.
But I'm certain of one thing. We all help provide for mom with the skills that God has given us. While it's been a blessing to mom that her three sons live within driving distance, I can never discount the comfort my sisters give mom through their daily phone calls and frequent trips to Diamond Springs.
It doesn't matter if one mows the lawn, another repairs a leaky water faucet or someone leaves a dozen homemade soups in the freezer. Mom appreciates every phone call, every selfless act and every meal. She's expressed these past months that these actions -- all inspired by our love for her -- helped her cope with the loss of her beloved.
God's truth is often brought out in small ways. It's these expressions of faith that please God. James said, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble ...." (James 1:27).
You may not be faced with the loss of a parent at this stage in your life. But you don't have to wait until your father dies to start practicing of your religion. Start by helping your mother and father today. One day, your mother will be a widow.
Monday, April 20, 2009
As a basic website, Summer Camp Jobs doesn't feature any of the extended capabilities that other sites have. All you can do is to browse the listings. You can't post your resume, for instance, or expect a camp director to contact you through the website.
The nice thing about Summer Camp Jobs is that you the listings are segregated by the 50 U.S. states and 12 Canadian provinces. I checked the pages for California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington often.
After an initial burst of job listings in early winter, new postings to the California page dried up. I was still able to identify about one dozen Northern California camps that were looking for food service staff through the website.
I found the best strategy was to click over to the camp website once I located a potential employer. Camp websites often list their specific job openings, along with the camp philosophy and mission.
This is important because it's important to make sure that you and the camp are a good fit. Many camps look for employees who do more than punch the time clock. They want enthusiastic workers -- even in the kitchen -- who're excited about working at a summer camp.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
The large Northern-type was the last steam locomotive built and delivered to the UP. With a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement and massive 80-inch drivers, the locomotive was used in fast passenger train service from 1944 to 1957. It then spent its last days in active service pulling freight trains.
The Union Pacific saved the engine from the scrapper's torch in 1960. It now tours the country as a living legacy to the days of steam.
The 844 is one of 45 Northerns built by the American Locomotive Company for the UP. Of the four reamining Northers, the 844 is the only one that steams under its own power.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
The Chef Apprentice chronicles "self-taught cook" Stuart Leavenworth's internship at Oliveto, an upscale Italian restaurant in Oakland, "known ... for its traditional Italian dishes made from local, seasonal products with the clarity of a great kitchen."
"I plan to profile the chefs and employees at Oliveto and the farmers who supply the restaurant," said Leavenworth in the paper's Food and Wine Section blog Wednesday.
Leavenworth will note his "trials and errors" over the next six months. He promises to record his experience as he applies skills he mastered at home to the restaurant world.
I'm certain we'll see a few painful lesions. His first -- one that almost ended his internship -- came as Leavenworth jammed the short tip of an unfamiliar paring knife into his left thumb.
The accident happened as he practiced "turning" a potato, a technique new to Leavenworth. To turn a potato, the cook makes a series of cuts with a special paring knife to simultaneously trim and shape the potato into the shape of a barrel or football.
Then there'll be occasions where Leavenworth, a novice to the fast-paced world of restaurant cooking, will bring his culinary skill to the plate.
Quick thinking by Leavenworth saved a pricey lamb dish at the restaurant. Of course, he's the one who almost sent the braised lamb with "an intensely flavored sauce" into the garbage in the first place.
Leavenworth sprinkled too much salt on the meat as he seared the lamb in a large fry pan. Once he pulled the braise from the oven, the chef tasted the stock and declared, "Too salty."
"If the stock was slightly salty now, it would be way to salty once reduced," observed Leavenworth.
This is where the "self-taught" part of being a cook comes in to play. Leavenworth understood the basic principle of culinary reductions. And he knew to save the dish meant he'd have to "take out some of the stock, and add something to reduce the salt."
Leavenworth suggested wine, while the chef said cream would do the trick. The chef added both and a dish was saved.
"This is going to be a wild and unpredictable journey," said Leavenworth. "I hope you'll join me, five days a week."
It's nice to read a blog where the author writes with the style and technique of a journalist, but has the heart of a cook. Leavenworth's passion for his second craft clearly comes through.
Join me as I read The Chef Apprentice each day. The time stamp on the blog indicates that he'll write most entries late at night, long after the Italian eatery has closed for the day.
If this week's entries are an indicator of his future writing, his passion for cooking and his new experience in a restaurant kitchen, will come through.
Monday, April 13, 2009
"Deploying with my son are the ashes of my wife’s late father, 'Chief of the Boat' William F. Heffelmire, for burial at sea.
"We were fortunate to have a family member deploying at this time. It was Heff's wishes to be buried at sea. Hugh and 'Grumpy' (as the grandkids called him) were quite fond of each other. Hugh would often stop by to visit Grumpy after school to play cards, or for a game of pool in the basement.
"Although Heff was a sub sailor, I don’t think he would mind his final deployment being on a surface ship, as long as he was with family."
PACIFIC OCEAN (April 8, 2009) -- Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Hugh Craig, from Bremerton, Wash., eulogizes his grandfather, Chief of the Boat William Heffelmire, during a memorial service in the ship's chapel aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Stennis is on a scheduled six-month deployment to the western Pacific Ocean.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa.
Friday, April 10, 2009
I've searched for a local shoe store for some time. Just when I though I'd have to settle of the Big 5 store in town, our local shoe repair guy told be about Evergreen Footwear.
As I picked a pair of my steel-toed Seabee combat boots this morning, I asked cobbler Walt Grace to refer me to a shoe store. I needed a pair of boots for work and hiking for my job this summer.
At first, Walt pointed me to Arian's Supply Sergeant on Main Street. Although I buy my annual pair of Levis 501 blue jeans in the surplus store, the referral didn't thrill me. I don't see Arian's as a shoe store.
As we talked, Walt quickly mentioned Evergreen Footwear. Located across Broadway from Save Mart in Placerville. While the shoe store seems to cater to women, it does have a fair selection of men's shoes, including a new offering of Wolverine boots.
Although I didn't limit my job search to the four websites, I relied on these four sites:
I initially posted my resume to the Employment Center during the week that I retired. After posting my employment objective and work experience in August, I went back over the next two or three weeks and refined my information and added additional information.
Unfortunately, the ACA Employment Center didn't generate and contacts for the 2009 summer camp season. The economy could be to blame as I saw several interesting job openings in 2007 and 2008. The first (and only to date) job alert didn't arrive in my inbox until the end of March.
I went to the site every week between December and March to search for food service jobs. Until mid-March, all advertised job were located east of the Mississippi River. As of today, a search for food service jobs only brought up 23 openings, with over two-thirds located in the East and Midwest.
I plan to use the search service next year when I start my search for the 2010 camp season. I may've selected an off year to use the ACA website.
However, if all goes well this summer, I won't need to search for a job next year. One of my goals this year was to locate a camp with which I could establish a long-term relationship.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Monday, April 06, 2009
The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort operates under joint arrangement where civilian merchant mariners operate, navigate and maintain the ship. The ship-board hospital is operated by Navy medical officers, hospital corpsmen and support personnel.
By Airman 1st Class Benjamin Stratton
USNS COMFORT, At Sea (NNS) (April 6, 2009) -- The USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) galley is responsible for feeding more than 800 people during its four-month humanitarian mission to Latin America and the Caribbean during Continuing Promise 2009.
Many people may be surprised to know how important the galley crews are to the successful completion of the mission when it comes to keeping the crew's morale high and appetite at bay.
"Without the Sailors working in the galley, we can't accomplish our mission," said Lt. j.g. Evan Toatley, Comfort food service officer. "If you want to defeat any army or navy, you have to cut off their supply route and their food. Therefore, the food operation is pivotal. Just as keeping up with the steady metabolism of the crew is an important aspect to the galley's mission it also provides a chance for the crew to relax and "de-stress."
"Three meals a day are the only opportunity a lot of people have to take time and relax," said Chief Culinary Specialist Ranilo Fernandez, Comfort's leading chief petty officer of the galley. "It is a time the crew can get away from the monotony of everyday work.
"These three meals are the time the culinary specialists are in the spotlight. It is their opportunity to showcase their skills and contributions to the mission of what the crew calls, "America's most prestigious ship."
"We are the leaders of the pack," said Seaman Apprentice Crystal Waters, Comfort food service attendant. "Most of us are hospitalman apprentices who came over from Bethesda (National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda). So this isn't our primary job, but we'll do what we can to complete the mission."
"My Sailors have expertise, motivation and drive and really enjoy what they do," said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Daniel Andriach. "I put a lot of trust in them. There are times when I place an E-2 in charge of the beverage and salad bar line, and they perform their duties time and time again better than any I've seen in my more than twenty-year career.
"There are many jobs involved in feeding the crew of the Comfort. In addition to serving food, Sailors work in the dish room, supply room, preparation, deep wash and administration.
"My favorite thing about our job is getting to know every single crew member," he said. "We get to meet every officer and enlisted crew member who comes through the line." said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Keerat-Vijay Singh, leading galley petty officer.
The first to wake and the last to sleep, the galley crew runs a 24-hour operation and deserve many thanks and smiles, according to Singh.
"We really appreciate all their hard work and dedication to this crew and our mission," Singh said.
From enlisted to officer to non-governmental organizations and international partners, the galley crew meet and greet many people from all walks of life.
"We need to show our appreciation for the galley kids," said Navy Capt. James J. Ware, Comfort medical treatment facility manager. "The success of our mission stems from nutritious meals to outstanding customer service."
While it's too late to apply for many camp jobs, there are always camps that are still looking to fill positions. In past years, I've seen late-spring pleas from camp directors who desperately need to locate a camp chef. (Bookmark and follow the ACA Message Board for such late-breaking requests.)
It never hurts to contact camp directors and ask about openings. Even though the job market dries up as the calendar advances toward June, candidates do turn down job offers. Jobs remain open for a variety of reasons.
I used four websites that connect job hunters to prospective summer camp jobs. Although I found a number of similar websites, I found these four were the easiest to use.
These sites don't focus on any one job speciality or skill, like food services. Any potential staff member can use these sites. This includes camp director and leadership positions, counselors and unit staff, program specialsts, food service, maintenance and front office staff.
The websites are:
Instead, it'll give you my thought on how to use these sites. I'm sure someone will be able to learn from my experience.
Friday, April 03, 2009
"I tried the idea of using long slices of zucchini (in lasagna)," said Elizabeth in her email Wednesday. "Just remember that it will weep out a lot of water. I actually had to tip the dish out and drain a lot of liquid out before we could eat it."
She's right. Zucchini will leach as much as 20 percent of its weight in water when salted, according to the editors of Cook's Illustrated. That's about three tablespoons of water per pound of zucchini.
As Elizabeth noted, no one wants to eat a water-logged lasagna. Although her lasagna "tasted fine," it was a "hassle" draining the liquid from the pan.
My Monday blog, "Ideas for stuffed zucchini," suggested several ways to use up a bumper crop of zucchini this summer.
Since zucchini is about 95 percent water, the cook must find a way to leach out excess moisture for some zucchini dishes. Moist dishes, like muffins or zucchini and tomatoes, don't require any additional processing.
Although the baker can adjust the amount of water or milk in a muffin or bread recipe to compensate, most baking recipes should be okay.
In sauteed zucchini, the summer squash becomes soggy as it steams in its own water. Water dilutes the oil in the skillet and cools the dish. The sauteed dish overcooks before excess moisture evaporates and the pan has a chance to heat up again.
Properly leached, the zucchini will brown, a process that adds much-needed flavor. The zucchini quickly cooks while the natural sugars caramelize. Any water that hits the pan evaporates quickly.
I can think of two ways to drive moisture from zucchini, eggplant and similar vegetables -- salting and roasting. Both methods leach excess moisture from the squash, just in different ways.
Use the salting technique when preparing the vegetable for further cooking, especially for quick cooking methods like sauteing for stir frying. Roasting is best used when the zucchini will be used as an ingredient in a casserole or layered dish, like a lasagna.
After slicing the zucchini as desired, lay it in a colander, sprinkling kosher salt between the layers. Set the colander over a bowl to catch the water. Use 1 tablespoon kosher salt for each 1-1/2 pounds sliced zucchini (about 4 medium zucchinis).
Set aside for 30 minutes. Remove zucchini from colander and brush salt off. Cook as desired.
I favor kosher over table salt because the large grains are easily brushed off the zucchini. Don't salt the finished dish until you taste it.
This technique does two things: It drives excess moisture out and adds flavor to an otherwise bland vegetable. Slice or dice zucchini as desired, toss with olive oil, salt, ground black pepper and minced garlic.
Spread in one layer on one or more oiled sheet pans and bake in a pre-heated 450-degree oven for about 35 minutes, or until golden. Adjust color by removing the zucchini sooner or leaving it in the oven a bit longer.
I plan to test one or two zucchini recipes in the next week. I'll post recipes and photographs for vegetable lasagna and sauteed zucchini.