Monday, April 8, 2013

Sometimes Spur of the Moment is Best - Grilled Filet Mignon with Bearnaise, Asparagus and Crab


A wonderful spring day.  The first of many to come.  I couldn't wait to grill.  Grilling is a great way to invest little time and get big results.  Earlier in the day all I had to do was defrost six filets.  About 1 hour before grilling, I created a marinade with red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lots of cracked black pepper, salt, and a touch of Italian dressing.  At the end of that hour, I wrapped a strip of bacon around each and secured with a wooden toothpick and set aside to come to room temperature.  I prepped a bunch of asparagus by snapping off the bottom 1/4 and drizzled the stalks with olive oil and sprinkling of sea salt and pepper.  Prepped the grill and put everything on.  The filets took about 8½ minutes per side and then I did a quick "side-roll" over a high flame to help the bacon crisp up.  The asparagus (over low heat) took about the same amount of time.  After removing it all from the grill and letting the steaks rest, I whipped up a saucepan of "envelope-mix" Bearnaise sauce (about 4 minutes total) and did a quick chop on some crab meat (well, imitation crab meat - have you seen the price of crab lately?!).



Honestly, spectacular.  Except for the defrosting part of it... less than 1/2 an hour.  Believe me - it was something I would have ordered in a restaurant.


Filet with Bearnaise, Asparagus and Crab ... Done!

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Conneaut Lake Park in Pennsylvania

On this first day of snow here in Cleveland, I'm thinking of warm summer winds, trying to keep myself toasty.  Here is a summer memory I would like to share with you.  It doesn't have anything to do with cooking, but it does have everything to do with taking time out from the daily grind and getting out of the kitchen to explore and show your kids what the world has to offer.  And just sometimes, you will learn and experience new things, too.  On Labor Day, my family and I hit the road for a day trip to Pennsylvania.

Pymatuning State Park Spillway and Carp Hatchery in Linesville, PA, was an unique experience.  A snack shack is there and sells loaves of bread for a buck.  Tear it up and watch the fish, ducks and geese swarm.  The kids loved it and there were a lot of adults there who really seemed to like it too!


It is said that the ducks walk on the backs of the carp here.  I didn't see that, but I did see some fights break out between the two.  And I swear the fish won those skirmishes. 



Across the street from the bustle was a quieter area where fishing is allowed. These two gentlemen caught carp at the same time.

Too bad they couldn't catch a belt.


Once we looked away from the men, the view turned out to be quite beautiful.


After the Spillway, a few minutes down the road, we went to Conneaut Lake Park.  This was my first time.  I wish it wasn't.  I wish I had seen the park in all its glory.

The park was originally built in 1892 as Exposition Park. 

This is the parking lot.  Remember, it was a holiday, but there were maybe 10 cars in the entire lot.


These are the entry gates.  Unused.


This is what greeted us when we arrived at noon.




Kiddieland.  Not exactly welcoming.  The clowns were rather scary.



The carousel was a beautiful treat.  It was a ray of sunshine in the park.  The craftsmanship was outstanding.





On February 1, 2008, an arsonist struck the park.  This is the second time fire proved its curse (it was nearly completely destroyed in 1943).  Apparently, the arsonist is still at work around the park.  Just in June of this year, the news was reporting several arson fires located within a five mile radius of the park.  It's scary to think that s/he might hit the park again.  He doesn't have much left to torch.  One more fire could shut the park down forever.

This remnant is still providing testimony in Kiddieland.


This shows just some of the damage the arsonist did.  It wasn't just a bathroom that he torched.

(courtesy of Ramble On)

The original Park boasted the Dreamland Ballroom, built in about 1893.

The 115 year old building was destroyed by the 2008 arsonist.

(Both photos borrowed from The Theme Park Review Forum)

My children didn't think about the sadness of the park.  They just loved the Little Dipper Rollercoaster.  The park was so empty that the ride operator allowed the kids to ride as often as they wanted.  All they had to do was raise their hand as they entered the station if they wanted off.



The Toboggan wasn't running.

It was time to cool off, so we headed to the Beach Club.  This was the only place that was really populated. Of course, about a quarter of those there were from the MC "The Pagans."  Not exactly my type of people, but like with any other person, treat them nice, and they'll do the same.  They were just there for some fries and some beers.  See, they're human, too.


Next to the Beach Club was the beach.  There were a few people there cooling off.



But nothing like it used to be.  1959/1960:
(Image borrowed from Shorpy)

The Beach Club as it used to be.

(From Conneaut Lake Park's Website)


The boardwalk was kept in nice repair.  Unfortunately, under the boardwalk looked like a city dump.


The Exposition Hotel was originally built in about 1893 and was remodeled in 1902/1903 and renamed Hotel Conneaut and had 150 rooms, eventually growing to 300 rooms.


(Borrowed from Treasure Net)

It was renamed Hotel Conneaut in 1920. In 27 April 1943, a bolt of lightning destroyed half of the rooms and gave birth to the legend of Elizabeth the doomed bride's ghost.  Elizabeth and her new husband were honeymooning at the Hotel.  When the lightning struck, her husband fled the hotel, thinking his bride was already out of the building.  Elizabeth, however, didn't know her husband got out safely and remained inside looking for her love.  She perished.  I hope to do some real research and see if this really happened.  After that fire, the Park never quite recovered to the status it once held.











The kids decided it was time to ride some more rides, having gotten their second wind.


The Midway was a very sad landscape. It used to bustle with people and vendors and games.

Today, it was filled with a few Bust the Balloon games, a souvenir store that seemed to specialize in the smell of mildew and items that were already broken inside of their packaging.

There were several facades that reminded me of a card-board ghost town.




In stark contrast, below is a photo borrowed from Blog.CLPHotelConneaut.com. Oh my.

The park does boast of a famous roller coaster.  I did not ride it, but I spoke to someone who had.  She showed me her bruised knees and complained of her sore back as a testament to its rickety-ness.
All in all, though, it was a remarkable experience.  Rather, it seemed like exploring a living ghost town.

For further reading, check out Summer at the Lake.
There's a book, too.  Amazon has it.


The trip home afforded us with a memorable landscape.



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