Sunday, October 22, 2006

You've Ruined It!

The title works best when said in a cool Smeagol voice, and don't forget to keep nassty chipss.

Well hello folks. So, like, what the heck did I ruin? Ha! I didn't ruin nuthin'. But I'll tell you a story about how a beautiful, wonderful, scary cross-country ski trail was ruined. But first; a bit of a back-story...

Oh wait, I know what you are thinking: if I keep up with a cool story and a cool recipe every day then pretty damned soon I'm going to run out of stories and cool recipes. I've got you fooled! Umpteen decades of experience in the wilds of Alaska (haven't even started on the Aussie stories yet) and umpteen years of home cookin' (I like to eat) means I shouldn't run out of material until at least the 51st of March, 2287. Oh, yes, for those of you who don't know, the number of days in a year was changed to 867 in 2200 cus all the asteroid impacts slowed the orbit of the Earth. I'm making a note here for the future historians --you're welcome.

Back to the ruination of what was once a really awesome cross-country ski trail.

For those of you who have read all the entries so far (damned boring, weren't they?) you would know that I was on my high school cross country skiing team (and the running team too). You may also have gleamed the info that we trained at Kincaid Park in Los Anchorage (very close to Alaska).

We trained at Kincaid before the trails were lighted. We trained at Kincaid before there was a stadium. We trained at Kincaid when the old military bunkers were still there (they were great for bb-gun fights, but that's another story). We trained at Kincaid when none of the trails were marked. We trained at Kincaid when the trails weren't groomed. In other words, we had fun skiing through the woods --that's putting it mildly.

There's a wee bit of a difference betwixt "old" Kincaid and "new" Kincaid. I'd say about the difference between a primordial forest and a ten lane expressway. You can probably guess which I prefer.

Many of the downhill sections in "old" Kincaid were named: Compression, Horseshoe, Niagra, Slalom, etc. I always feared Slalom. Why? I'll tell you why.

Firstly, it was downhill (that's cool, but there are no brakes on skis). It wound through trees --these weren't the trees you see in a Warren Millar powder movie... these were TREES! Six feet in diameter! Really big, huge kid-eating TREES.

Secondly, the trail wound through the trees, of course. Did the "slalom" trail wind through the trees properly? Not a chance. Did you turn AFTER each tree? Not a chance. Every turn was JUST BEFORE A TREE --remember, these aren't little tiny wussie trees you can crash through. If you weren't wearing brown-colored britches at first, then by the last (fifth) turn JUST BEFORE A DAMNED BIG TREE I can certainly guarantee you were afterwards.

That last turn --left BTW-- was one I'll always remember. It was almost always dark or twilight. Remember, this is Alaska in the winter in the late afternoon so there wasn't much light. I remember the two huge roots from the base of the evil tree sculpted into the icy, hard-packed joke of a turn. I remember the huge crack in the bark that most certainly swallowed skiers/kids whole. I remember the imprint of the face of an unlucky kid just above the crack that had to have ingested his body.

Everytime it came time to avoid that last tree (by turning left on an icy trail with only thin cross-country skies to vainly attempt to carve a turn), I could never take my eyes off the imprint of the face above that crack in the bark. If you assumed that nine times out of ten I wiped out/bailed out into the deep snow off the trail as I flailed around that last corner while trying not to stare at the tree, well then you'd be right.

I lost count of the number of times I wiped out on that last corner, and the number of times I skied that trail. It seemed the only time I ever made it was during a race --must've been the extra adreneline I guess.

I never hit that tree, but I was sure I would many many many times...

Fast forward the tape a few decades...

High Summer. dave riding through the trails of "new" kincaid on a mountain bike. dave is savoring the wide trails, the sandpits at the bottom of a descent (good thing I learned how to go over handlebars when I was young), the glorious views over Turnagain Arm, the greetings from other trail users as we ride past each other. Ahhhhh, bliss. Even the moose were friendly. Butterflies float over the fields, rabbits play with the foxes, and joy was in the world.

dave decides to go and relive his childhood on the "old" trails of kincaid... The trails suddenly take on a distinctly menacing tone, the underbrush clogs the trail and obscures the wheel-breaking roots... The devil's club thorns grow by three inches and scrape huge divots out of unsuspecting legs... Darkness descends... The trees whisper evilly to each other... The brush rustles with the movements of unknown beasts... Ah! Great! Back to normal, just like dave remembers it!

Approaching the descent of Slalom, dave attempts to recollect each turn. No such luck, besides that was in the snow on skies and this is on a bike in the dirt. "At least I'll have brakes," thinks dave --quickly testing them.

"Wait a sec, that was the first tree! But no turn???" Odd thoughts rush through dave's brain -quite quickly too. "Hey, there went the second, third and fourth tree and STILL no turns?" Our hero passes the fifth and final tree and STILL no turns --but he did notice more face imprints above the crack in the bark of the fifth tree.


I couldn't believe it... the go*&%$$%#*&@##@$@@#ed parks and rec as@#$%%##@es straightened out Slalom. They made a mockery of a once feared descent --b*%%%rds even left the sign up "Slalom"! As if that's supposed to appease the demon that once lurked there. Now, countless kiddies on skies will arrive home WITHOUT having to change their undies; lucky little brats.

Isn't this where I'm supposed to say something about not being able to go home again? Stuff that! I've never grown up and I ain't gonna now. Gonna go see if Horseshoe is still there and what it looks like in the dark...

Coming up soon: dave and another concussion.

Food time, wee-hoo.

Real Men Don't Eat Quiche: They Make It First And Then Eat It!

Yummy, scrummy. Tell any redneck truckdriver sourdough crusty old fart (could be me!) this: Eggs, Bacon, Shrooms, Seasonings, all tossed together and cooked. They'll SALIVATE! Then tell them it's a French dish called Quiche Lorraine. Wee-hoo! The fun you can have embarassing neandrethals!

This quiche dish is based on the classic Quiche Lorraine recipe from France. I have made some modifications, so I'll call it "Dave's Quicke". Oops, Quiche...

What you need:

2 large slices of bacon
10 (or so) fresh button mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp dried tarragon or 2 tsp fresh
pinch o sea salt
pinch of ground white pepper
six eggs
a cup or two of milk
12 thin tomato slices
fresh tarragon leaves
fresh basil leaves

What you do:

Cut the bacon into 1 cm square pieces. Cook em till they are almost crispy-like. Put cooked bacon pieces in the bottom of a glass pie dish (no, you don't need to butter or coat the dish).

Sautee the quartered shrooms in the bacon fat and add the lime juice, dried tarragon, sea salt and white pepper while stirring (tossing, if you have a wok) the shrooms. Cook them for 4 to 5 mins. Add the cooked shrooms to the pie dish. The shrooms will smell really really really good.

Whisk the eggs and add enough milk to the eggs so that it'll fill the pie dish. You can always "err on the side of caution" and have extra egg/milk mixture for an omelette in the morning. Pour the beaten eggs and milk into the pie dish.

Chuck the pie dish into a pre-heated oven at 180 C (360 F) --CAREFUL! DON'T SPILL IT!!!!! and cook for 30 mins. Then take the *almost* cooked quiche out and top with thin sliced tomato, fresh tarragon, and fresh basil. Put it back in the oven till it's done (about ten mins more).

Eat and enjoy!

Damn, I should be charging for these...


Geeky Dragon Girl said...

For a while I thought you meant *I* ruined something. Whew, glad it wasn't me. I wouldn't want an angry Smeagol after me.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Cool title, eh? Of course I didn't mean you, silly one.