Archive for August, 2008

Mammoth Cave, KY

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

This morning we had a reservation for the 9:00 AM “New Entrance” tour – one of the caves in Mammoth Cave National Park. The park is easy to get to and must be more crowded in the summer months. Even so, some of the tours were sold out.

The “New Entrance” tour sells out at 118 people. There was quite a crowd, probably close to capacity. The whole lot of us boarded three old school buses for the five minute ride to the cave entrance. Katie and April were our ranger guides.

Once in the cave we spent almost two hours underground. The short (quarter of a mile) hike was mostly stairs … almost 300 of them … taking us 250 feet underground. At one point, at a place with benches call “Grand Central Station” Katie turned out the lights so we could see how pitch dark it was in the cave. It was a cool 55 degrees and, besides lots of rock, we saw at least one bat. The stalagtites and the stalamites came near the end of the tour with a formation they have dubbed “Frozen Niagara”.

I liked the hike, being underground and seeing all the rocks and formations. It just seems amazing for it to be there and be so solid. You’d think that it would cave in on itself eventually. But you don’t really want to think too much about that while you’re underground. 🙂

Moroccan-Spiced Tomato Chicken with Almonds

Monday, August 25th, 2008

This summer I’ve tried a few new recipes in the slow cooker. I like cooking in the crock pot for a couple of reasons: there’s not much fuss and it doesn’t heat up the house. Plus, it smells pretty good as the spices and flavors cook over time. This past weekend I made Moroccan-Spiced Tomato Chicken with Almonds from the “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two” that I checked out of the library. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Moroccan-Spiced Tomato Chicken
“Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two” Cookbook

Setting and cook time: Low for 2 or 2.5 hours

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 clove garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup tomato salsa (Salsa de Luna or Newman’s Mild Chunky are recommended)
2 tablespoons dried currants
4 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Spray the inside of the crock with nonstick cooking spray. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until golden, 1 minute. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towels. When cool, coarsely shop.

2. Add garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the chicken thighs to the skillet and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the slow cooker.

3. Combine the salsa, currants, honey, cumin and cinnamon and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 to 2.5 hours, until the chicken is for-tender and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over couscous, topped with toasted almonds.

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Sunday, August 24th, 2008

I tried watching “I’m Not There” last night and was bored. I just didn’t get it. I quit and went to bed.