Photo: First Autumn sunset in Idyllwild this year. Also, a bird in flight.
I get now why people have second homes. Especially in beautiful places.
About once a year, I pack up the whole family (this year, it’s the husband, children, and dogs), and go someplace quiet for an entire week. And I pack an entire car (or two) so that when I get there, I don’t have to ever step out the front door if I don’t want to.
And every time I do this, the trip is much too short.
This year, I finally wrote down my food/kitchen packing list, so that next time, I’ll have something to reference. (This (long) list is at the bottom of this post.)
Monday morning breakfast: Leftover DaLe Ranch ribeye, omelet of DaLe Ranch duck egg, spinach, mushrooms and cheddar cheese, and side of diced peaches.
On my way up, I stopped in Lake Elsinore to visit with Dave and Leslie of DaLe Ranch and stocked up on meat products. Because I went over-budget by about ohh…. About 125%, Dave and Leslie were kind enough to throw in a package of duck eggs and quail egg for free. (Score!) So, most of the meals this week included some sort of DaLe Ranch product. And it was all superb.
Right before we left for the week, we yanked out our spring/summer garden to make room for the autumn garden, so I was also able to bring up some onions and garden leeks. Not to self: It takes a really long time to grow leeks, and an entire crop of them only yielded the size of one average/large leek. Boo.
For me, there’s hardly a planned menu; part of the Holiday fun is the challenge of “what to make” given the constraints of only using what I have.
To me, bacon + leeks + clams + potatoes = chowder.
Putting together what I packed, I was able to scrounge up a couple of servings of clam chowder. (The neglected Littleneck clams were in desperate need of use.) The first fun task: cooking up a few extra pieces of bacon, just to snack on. The second fun task: running the clam broth through a coffee filter to get the sand out. The third fun task: Enjoying with a side of chick flick.
P.S. I Love You. It made me cry like a baby.
Other notable meals/dishes made at the cabin this week:
- Carnitas street tacos with queso fresco, minced shallots, sour cream and fresh cilantro (with freshly made flour tortillas)
- Tomato basil puree with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves
- Thomas Keller’s fried chicken and a side of corn and sautéed zucchini
- Mashed potatoes with fresh chives
- Soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies
- Lemon cake with strawberries and whipped cream topping
If a blizzard rolled through town and we were stuck here for an extra week, or two, I think we would have been okay. #memberofpackratanonymous
Of all the tools listed below, I think my must-take would be my chef’s knife, and also the Vitamix. Both got some serious use. Food-wise, I think bacon is a non-negotiable. And beer. And good butter.
What would you MUST HAVE if you took a similar trip?
Food/kitchen packing List for 7 days
Note: Items listed in red were special/intended for this particular trip, other items should be packed for every trip.
- DaLe Ranch items: Ribeye steaks, Hanger steaks, Applewood bacon, Duck eggs, Quail eggs (purchased en route )
- Cow’s milk
- Goat’s milk
- Heavy whipping cream
- Littleneck clams (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Scallops (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Chicken wings
- Pork shoulder
- Brown onions
- Red onions (leftover from home)
- Gold potatoes (leftover from home)
- Russet potatoes
- Leeks (just pulled from the garden)
- Corn on the cob (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Peaches (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Mushrooms (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Chicken eggs
- Butter, salted and unsalted
- Orange juice
- Chocolate ganache ice cream (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Monterey Jack cheese (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Buffalo mozzarella cheese (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Cheddar cheese (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Mozzarella cheese (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Queso fresco (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Sour cream (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Roasted butternut squash puree (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Buffalo Bolognese (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Tomato sauce (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Tomato paste (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Yogurt (for the kids)
- Dijon mustard
- Ginger (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Cilantro (for making tacos)
- Zucchini (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Cucumber (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Grapes (leftover from the fridge at home)
- Limes (for making tacos)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Living basil
- Living chives
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Cherry vinegar
- Candied walnuts/pecans
- Dried cranberries
- Ranch dressing packet
- All purpose flour
- Cake flour (to make a celebration cake)
- Powdered sugar
- Dark brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Chocolate chips
- Peanut butter (to make peanut butter cookies)
- Vanilla extract
- Cocoa powder
- Kosher salt
- Pepper grinder
- Chicken stock
- Beef stock
- Canned San Marzano tomatoes
- Bottled water
- Coffee, ground
- Apple juice (for the kids)
- Chex mix, Cheetos, Ritz crackers (for the kids)
- Cheerios (for the kids)
- Wheat bread (for the kids)
- Kraft macaroni and cheese (for the kids)
- Dog treats
- Dog food
- Bay leaves
- Cayenne pepper
- California chili powder
- Celery salt
- Garlic powder (for the fried chicken)
- Ground coriander
- Onion powder (for the fried chicken)
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Chef’s knife
- Stainless steel tongs (for frying chicken)
- Aluminum foil
- Corn grater (for making corn)
- Potato peeler
- Squeeze bottle
- Nonstick pan, small
- Kitchen scale
- Candy thermometer (for frying chicken)
- Small fryer (for frying chicken)
- Ziplock bags
- Stick lighter
- Dish towels
- Dog bowls
Things I always hope the rental cabin has (and this one did!):
- Rolling pin (and if there was no rolling pin, I’d just just a wine bottle)
- Serving bowls
- Wooden spoons
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Dish soap
- Hand soap
- Cleaning supplies
- Dishwashing detergent
- Paper towels
- Pots/pans, nonstick and regular
- Baking sheets
- Rubber spatula
- Large whisk
- Wooden spoon
- Bottle opener
- Can opener
- Wooden cutting board
- Coffee maker
- Coffee filters
- Coffee grinder
Living herbs, why not?!
I’m actually shocked that during the week, 99% of everything I brought was actually used. The only items that were neglected were the scallops (thrown out) and blocks of cheese (Monterey Jack and Mozzarella) (taken back home again).
One final note/review for VRBO:
The sunset view is amazing.
When I go to Idyllwild, I look for vacation properties with one of the two most sought-after views: 1) the sunset, or 2) the rock. Of all the cabins I’ve rented over the years, the cabin we stayed in this week had, hands down, the BEST sunset view I’ve ever seen from Idyllwild. It was so magical I stopped what I was doing every single evening, just to take it in. If you’re a sunset person like I am, please stay here. The cabin is near the top of a hill. Views are unobstructed.
The home itself is beautiful.
Sometimes, when you rent vacation properties, it feels like you’re staying in someone else’s garage sale leftovers. Nothing matches. Everything’s cheap. Not the case here. Irma and her family have done a marvelous job at making this a beautiful, warm, inviting and cozy second home for themselves. The rooms are thoughtfully decorated, the furniture is comfortable, and most importantly for me, since I’m an avid home cook, the kitchen is fully stocked. Example: there are THREE coffee makers in the house.
The owners are wonderful.
Part of what makes a comfortable stay is the peace of mind in knowing there are friendly, helpful owners on the other end. Irma is a pleasure to deal with, and only a phone call or email away. Bonus: the neighbors are wonderful people, too. I know this because our two dogs inadvertently got out of the house (they pulled on the lever door handles to open them and ran out the backyard) and were missing for 25 hours. With the help of Katie (neighbor), the folks over at ARF Idyllwild Animal Rescue, and Dave, a good Samaritan and Idyllwild resident, we were able to get the dogs back. In summary, the community of Idyllwild is full of good, caring people. For anyone interested in reading the full story, you can find it on ARF’s facebook page. Posted by me, Kim Burnell, on September 26th.