Taco Soup & Rainbows by Shelen Scout Boyes

Since moving from Colorado to the east coast of the north island of New Zealand, I didn’t waste any time and began to fish the rivers closest to me before heading deeper into the back country in search of wild browns and bows. When out on a day trip, once an angler reaches the water it’s hard to focus on anything but the fish you’re casting to and it’s not until you finally take a break that you realize how hungry all that walking made you! One morning this past October I decided to fish a river that was about an hour out of town. I knew I’d be out all day, so I figured I’d chuck something easy into the slow cooker, that way dinner would be ready by the time I got home! One of my favorites (but simple) recipes to make before leaving the house is Crock Pot Beef Taco Soup. It takes 20 minutes to prep, a couple ingredients and is ready to serve by the time you return from a day on the water!

What you’ll need:

·      Olive oil

·      1 lb. minced beer

·      1 chopped onion

·      14oz can pinto beans 

·      14oz kidney beans

·      14oz kernel corn  

·      3 tbsp tomato puree

·      2 cups of water 

·      14oz can of diced tomato’s

·      1-3 chilies to taste, chopped and seeded

·      ½ of store-bought taco seasoning

·      1/3 cup of parsley leaves

·      Corn chips

·      ½ grated Cheddar cheese

·      1 cup of sour cream

 Prepping:

1.     First, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add beef and cook until browned, all over. Drain.

2.     Place beef, onion, pinto beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato puree, water, diced tomatoes, chilies, parsley and taco seasoning in a medium slow cooker. Stir to combine.

3.     Cook on low for 8 hours.

4.     Serve topped with corn chips, grated cheddar cheese, a touch of parsley and a dollop of sour cream.

So, after getting everything sorted for that night’s dinner, I packed the fishing gear into the car and made my way out to the river. It was turning out to be a beautiful spring day in New Zealand but with possible rain showers that evening. Something I learned when living back in Colorado is that if you’re heading into the mountains or just into the country, one should always be prepared for the worst conditions. In my fishing pack along with my rod, reel, waders, boots and net I also have a rain jacket, EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon), knife, waterproof matches, and a first aid kit just in case.

Once I arrived at the parking lot, I geared up and started walking up-river, scanning the water for fishy looking shapes. I was on the hunt for some hungry rainbows and it wasn’t long after arriving to a stunning pool that I witnessed a lady-in-pink (hen rainbow) rise and take something off the surface. At that point in time I began to turn over a few rocks and scanned the air to see whatever it was that the trout were feeding on. There were a few mayflies starting to come off the tops of the water and with that little bit of confirmation, I rigged up my 5wt and added a size 12 Parachute Adams to the end of my leader with just a touch of floatant on top of it. After a few false casts, I aimed for the side seam of slower moving water. The fly plopped onto the surface and out from the shadows she came, sipping down my dry without any hesitation. I lifted the rod, setting the hook and just like that I was being taken downstream. The fight lasted a few minutes before finally getting the fish to the net and I was able to get a good look at the feisty specimen. I set my camera up and snapped a quick photo before releasing the beauty back into the river. The rest of the day consisted of landing a few more healthy trout before the colder weather set in, reminding me of the hot meal that was waiting back at home. Once making it back safe and sound, I started to unpack my gear and quickly check on dinner. After returning from a fishing trip, it’s always a good idea to clean off your gear and sterilize your wading boots etc. By doing this, an angler can be confident in knowing they won’t transport any unwanted bacteria or invasive species from one waterway to another. Finally, after cleaning my gear and unpacking the car it was time to eat. Another successful day of fishing followed by a quick and tasty meal to make for an even more satisfying evening.

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Sauce Is Boss - Mark Rauschenberger

It’s a crisp, fall morning at your favorite riverside campsite. The condensation that has collected on the walls of your tent overnight has frozen, and it shimmers in the soft light of the sunrise. You can see your breath. It’s warm inside your sleeping bag and you lie there for a while, considering whether or not to stay there a little bit longer, but the sound of the flowing river just a few paces away reminds you why you’re here. Once outside, you scrape the bottom of the fire pit. Coals from last night’s festivities are still glowing, and in short order, you’re able to get a decent fire going to cook breakfast. Before any of your friends have opened their tent doors, you’ve managed to set up the cooking grate and load up half a dozen of your famous, pork green chili breakfast burritos. You take a seat next to the sizzling food and wait—patiently.

 At this point, the morning could go one of two ways: you could continue to wait for your friends to wake up, eat your burritos, drink morning beers, and go on your merry way fishing like you always have done, or—you could pull out a bottle of smoked peach hot sauce, pass it around, and blow everybody’s minds. Now, if you’re smart, and I’m betting you are, you’re probably more interested in option number two. Today’s your lucky day, because I’m going to share with you my recipe for the world’s best hot sauce.

 Here’s what you’ll need to get this sauce brewing:

·      10-15 ripe peaches

·      3 ghost peppers, 3 chocolate habanero peppers, 6 jalapeno peppers (capsicum is extremely variable so be ready to use more or less depending upon the individual spiciness of the peppers you’re able to procure)

·      1 large white onion

·      1 clove garlic, roasted

·      2 tbsp sugar

·      Salt and pepper to taste

 1.     Heat a smoker to 200-250 degrees.

2.     Roast garlic in your oven. Follow these directions if you’re not sure what to do: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-garlic-102291

 3.     Halve the peaches, quarter the onion, and take whole peppers and place on the smoker. Smoke for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until everything is nicely blistered and the smoke has had a chance to work its way inside. Smokers are notorious for having inconsistent temperatures so make sure to rotate the peaches, onion, and pepper as needed. Be careful not to overcook.

4.     Once cool enough to handle, peel the peaches and remove the stems from the peppers. At this point, it’s up to you whether or not to remove the seeds from the peppers. Use your best judgement. Ghost peppers are weapon’s-grade spicy, you’d be wise to use gloves of some sort.

 5.     Combine everything into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Another word of advice here: if you’re in any state of doubt whatsoever about the heat, don’t use all of the peppers at this point. It’s very easy to add more heat later, it’s a lot more difficult to remove it.

6.     Pour the sauce into a large pan, then add sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.

7.     Taste the sauce and tweak it to suite your taste. If it’s too hot, you can use a splash of vinegar to cut the heat.

8.     Use an immersion blender to zip through any remaining chunks, and then you’re ready to use!

 Bring it everywhere and put it on everything. Seriously. You won’t regret it. No matter where I happen to be adventuring, you can be sure that a bottle of this hot sauce is never too far away.

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 Words & Images by Mark Rauschenberger.

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