Saturday, September 22, 2012

Valley of the Dutch Babies and Mountains for Cowboys

I've been away. Caretaking. Driving up and down between 5800 ft and 8000 ft in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado where my father lived until he rolled his car and changed his circumstances.

One day, driving home from the hospital I saw this scene at the local Denny's. We are not in Portland any more.

I can't sort out all the emotions, ideas, revelations, and resignations of this trip just yet. Still in the midst of figuring out the fine points.

When I drove home down that mighty and magnificent Columbia river  gorge and rounded a bend to find the tip top of  my sweet Willamette Valley I could finally breathe. I tasted the moisture in the air. I drove down an everyday street in this beautiful place and saw every sort of person in every sort of dress. No cow ponies or cows at Denny's. But I did see a goat mowing a lawn and my own fine dogs dancing with joy. And, best of all, the people that I love who make this place home.

In honor of the fullness of that I made a dutch baby that my baby and I just devoured.

Moan at the cliche if you will, there is no denying that, for me, there is no place like home. And home is a green, wet, fertile valley that terminates at its northern border in a confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers and lies just a low, misty mountain pass away from the Pacific ocean.

To make a dutch baby:

Heat oven to 400 degrees f

Grab your cast iron skillet and cut up an entire stick of butter to toss into pan

Place skillet with butter in hot oven and melt


In blender or with a whisk and large mixing bowl beat 6 eggs, then add 1 1/2 cups milk, then slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups flour and whisk/blend for a minute.

Quickly pour egg mix into melted butter in skillet. Place back in oven and cook for 20 to 25 minute. Dutch baby will puff up and become golden.

Top this golden goodness with a squeeze of lemon and powdered sugar or jam or maple syrup.

If you are wildly inspired, during the intial butter melt, toss in a couple handfuls of thinly sliced apples and a handful of brown sugar and let this cook for a few minutes in the oven before pouring over your dutch baby mix. My oh my! how your mama doing?

In other news, this is lovely and again, not news to anyone, but such a wonderful reminder. Also, via the ever lovely, often poignant Miss Whistle our beloved Stephen Fry on Kindness something my glorious mother with her generous wisdom suggested as my mantra for the trip.

Here was the view driving back to Ouray every night for the past couple of months. Spectacular.