Mother’s Day is once again packed in the memory box. This year it was most definitely my other half who made it a memory with beautiful flowers, a shopping trip for moi, and steamed lobster tails and bacon wrapped filets for a romantic dinner for two, the contents of which I have shared below.
Besides speaking to my progeny and step-progeny throughout the day, I had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends. One friend was on her way out the door for a week of R&R at her cabin the Sierras, which took me back to the early 1980’s when I also had a cabin in the same area. Bass Lake, to be specific, a relatively small mountain community still a well-kept secret during those years, tucked in the Western Sierra mountains. My husband at the time and his family owned a cabin on the lake while he and his brothers were in high school, and after they had sold it he’d always held on to a longing to purchase one of his own around there at some point. About a year after we were married, we bought a ski boat first and then located a cabin with a dock to house it in. Backwards, but effective nonetheless.
Over the next three years the cabin was truly our summer home. Both working full-time, with me off for two months during the summer, most of our free time was spent commuting back and forth between the Bay Area and the lake with children, rafts, animals, friends, and equipment in tow. Our “family truckster”, mainly an oversized station wagon with seating facing front and back, stoically hauled its boisterous crew up the mountain passes dragging the boat as well at the beginning of summer and once again at summer’s end.
It was a glorious time in my life, the time I spent on the lake. Early morning coffee sitting with my feet dangling in the cool water watching the sun peek its head over the mountains. Days browning in the summer sun taking turns making rooster tails with our skis and kneeboarding across the wake of the boat. At night the barbecues were called into action, both a pit and it’s gas counterpart. Board games were played on the deck with smells of chicken crisping in a pungent sopping sauce, and ears of fresh corn grilling in lime and butter inside their husks making our stomach’s growl in anticipation.
My kids learned to fish off that deck, as did many of their friends. As a note here, If your address book is ever looking a bit sparse, the addition of a new pool, boat, or cabin in your life will fill the pages in no time. Friends, relatives children, and sometimes strange faces appeared for dinner during those years on the lake, lining up for a bowl of chili or a scoop of homemade potato salad, often providing stuffing for our copious supply of sleeping bags strewn across the cabin floor at night.
Holidays were the most fun. It took little encouragement to gather family members, as there was so much to do especially with the Yosemite floor less than an hour away. Yosemite, for those of you not having had the pleasure of visiting there, is a 1,200 square mile national park in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Craggy peaks, ski slopes, magnificent waterfalls, rushing rivers, and resplendent flora and fauna draw rock climbers, hikers, rafters, campers, photographers, and tourists like ants to a peanut butter cup year round. If you are planning a trip, I might suggest early spring or fall. Winter is snow packed. If you enjoy winter sports the park provides an ideal choice to visit but during the peak summer months it is sometimes hard to appreciate the cascading roar of the waterfalls over the din of cameras clicking and the incredible mix of accents and cultures all speaking at once sharing your experience.
I find as I write this I would like to visit again. I closed the doors and handed over the key in 1984, and sat for some time on the steps of the deck saying goodbye to the familiar landscape beyond it. Perhaps this summer once we get moved I’ll pile my other half and I in the car and type “Yosemite” in the GPS. From what I understand the small cabins we originally rented before getting ours, have been leveled and a beautiful new resort, or several have been erected in their place. Still I would imagine it essentially still has that small town friendly hello and a nod feeling it always had when you drove up.
Tomorrow we’re off to check out houses. I’m excited for a new adventure. I added the “how to” for butterflying these little tails as I realized I’d forgotten exactly how it went and did it backwards last time, so thought I might not be alone. Steaks were outrageous with the melty garlic butter. Enjoy!
Romantic Dinner for Two
Bacon Wrapped Filets with Garlic Butter
2 slices lean bacon
2 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hr. before use
2 6-7 oz. filets, trimmed
2 tsp. lemon pepper
2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
10 large whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. soy sauce
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly parsley, minced
Mix together lemon pepper, black pepper and garlic salt. Massage rub into filets, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic cloves, soy sauce and olive oil in small ovenproof cruet or baking dish and cover tightly with tin foil. Bake until garlic is fork tender – about 30 mins. Allow to cool slightly. Remove with slotted spoon and pinch cooked garlic of skins into food processor reserving 2 tsp. of oil.
Place garlic, 2 tsp. oil and chunks of butter in food processor and process until smoother but still slightly coarse. Pulsing is best. Mix in chives nd parsley. Refrigerate until ready to use, removing about 15 mins. before steaks are done.
Prepare grill. Wrap each steak around girth with a piece of bacon and secure with skewers. Char outside to cook bacon and cook to desired doneness, about 5 mins. per side for med-rare.
Plate steaks and immediately top with 1 Tbsp. garlic butter, allowing it to melt over top. (If you have extra butter left over, it is excellent for garlic bread.)
Steamed Lobster Tails
2 lobster tails
4 Tbsp. butter
Thaw lobster tails. Place 2 inches of salted water in bottom of steamer.
On cutting surface place tail rounded side up with tail facing away from you. Using a pair of sharp kitchen shears insert lower part of blade beneath shell in the center and cut to just the base of the tail.
Pulling open the shell use your thumbs to gently pull the meat away from the inside of the shell and pull up through the top of the shell and towards the tail. Bring shell together beneath meat and lay meat on top. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bring water to boil. Place lobster tails in steamer basket, cover and steam for 7-8 mins. Serve with drawn butter.