Creamy Asparagus On Toast Breakfast Casserole Easy Rhubarb Dessert Homemade Cajun Seasoning Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Well, here I am again, writing like the dickens because today is "D" day (deadline). Where do the months go? Seems like I just wrote my last column two days ago! Thankfully though, my arm is getting better every day and I'm able to write easier than I could last month. (Rotator cuff surgery is no fun!) It's a cold, early spring day here on the mountain with a good chance of rain today, so what better way to spend the early morning hours than next to the stove writing for you good folks. Springtime is one of my favorite times of the year here in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The wild flowers are blossoming everywhere and the birds are starting their nest building ritual again. The bluebirds are busy carrying nesting materials into their birdhouses and a sizeable flock of Band-tailed Pigeons makes their appearance every morning to feast on the grain I spread on the hill for them. By the end of summer their number will just about double. I haven't been able to set up my summer kitchen yet, as it's only the middle of April as I write this, and the snow from two weeks ago has just melted off. I'm getting anxious to scorch a steak over a good wood fire! But it won't be long before I'll have the ol' barbecue fired up and cooking under the black Oaks again! So come on into the kitchen where its nice and warm, pour yourself a cup of Cowboy Coffee, and we'll palaver over some good vittles! Here last month, I got one of those promotional booklets in the mail touting a host of different food manufacturer's products. Usually I toss 'em in the waste can at the post office, but this one looked interesting so I took it home and I'm glad I did. I got five great recipes out of it and I'm gonna share three of them here with you folks this month. This first one features fresh asparagus and is it ever yummy! This is one heck of a great breakfast dish! Creamy Asparagus On Toast 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed 2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided 1/4-cup all-purpose flour 1/4-teaspoon salt Dash pepper 2 cups milk 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese 1/2-cup soft breadcrumbs 4 slices bread, toasted and halved In a large skillet, bring 1/2 in. of water to a boil. Add asparagus; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a greased 11” X 9” X 2” baking dish. Arrange eggs over the top. In a saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted and pour over the eggs. Melt the remaining butter; toss with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 375º for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve over toast. Yield: 4 servings. Every spring when the first asparagus crop hits the stores, I'm always reminded of how my good friend, the late Ray Park, would get to craving some fresh asparagus about the middle of December. He'd say, "Boys, when that first patch of asparagus starts sprouting, I'm gonna' get me a salt and pepper shaker and get in the middle of it and eat my way to the road!" Ray loved fresh asparagus and I'm sure he would have loved this recipe. I hope you folks enjoy it, too. Ladies, this next recipe makes enough for six people, and you mix it up the night or day before so breakfast is an easy deal the next morning. Just heat up the oven, pop this dish in for an hour and by the time you're got that hairy legged ol' boy up and awake from a night of pickin', breakfast is ready! And, if you bake it in one of those throwaway pans, you don't even have to clean that! (Like my mama used to say, the most important word here is EASY!) This recipe makes a great breakfast casserole as is, but you can use Italian style sausage to alter the taste and its just as good. If you fix this at the Festival, don't let Cuzin' Al know if you want to get any of it! Breakfast Casserole 1 pkg. Jimmy Dean Fresh Sausage, Regular Flavor (cooked, crumbled and drained) 4 cups cubed day old bread 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 10 eggs slightly beaten 4 cups milk 1 tsp. dry mustard 1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. onion powder Fresh ground pepper to taste 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional) 1/2 cup peeled, chopped tomatoes (optional) Place bread in well-buttered 9"X13" baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine the next six ingredients. Pour evenly over the bread and cheese. Sprinkle cooked sausage and optional ingredients over the top. Cover and chill overnight. Preheat oven to 325º. Bake uncovered for about one hour. Tent with foil if top begins to brown too quickly. Makes 6 servings. My Cowboy pardner, Pat Russell, loves to eat dessert more than any man I think I've ever known. Even more than John Murphy or Keith Little, two dessert hounds in their own right! About once a month I'll fix a chicken fried steak and eggs with hash browns, gravy and biscuits for Pat and me for breakfast. After soppin' up that last teensy bit of gravy with half a buttermilk biscuit, he'll look at me and say: "What's for dessert?" It took me a while to figure out that he's serious! Why not? As far as I know, there's no hard-and-fast epicurean rule that says you can't have dessert at six in the morning! Granted, that most folks don't eat dessert before daylight, but then again, most folks aren't Cowboys! I'm sure that Ranger Doug would say: "It's The Cowboy Way!" So, with that said, here's a dessert that's as easy as falling off a peeled foot log over ol' Piney Creek! Easy Rhubarb Dessert 4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb 1 package (3-ounces) raspberry gelatin 1/3-cup sugar 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow or white cake mix 1-cup water 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted Ice cream, (optional) Place Rhubarb in a greased 13” X 9” X 2” baking dish. Sprinkle with the gelatin, sugar and cake mix. Pour water evenly over the dry ingredients; drizzle with butter. Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until the rhubarb is tender. Serve with ice cream if desired. Yield 16-20 servings. I purely love Rhubarb pie, so this is kind of a cross between a cake and a pie so it'll do. My partner hasn't had a chance to sample this dish yet, but I'm sure when he does, I'm gonna have to fix it every time we have breakfast at my camp! (Dot, if you fix this dish for Les very much he's gonna have to buy some of those "stretch" pants!) Here's a recipe for some mighty fine Cajun Seasoning that I thought I'd throw in, seeing as how summer is almost upon us. Take a big roast or rack of ribs, rub it down real good with this seasoning, cover it and let it "soak" for 3-4 hours prior to cooking. Wow! In fact, you can use this recipe on any meat or vegetables. Simply mix it up and store in an airtight container in a cool place. Let your imagination be your guide! Homemade Cajun Seasoning 1 carton (26 ounces) salt 2 containers (1 ounce each) cayenne pepper 1/3-cup pepper 1/3-cup chili powder 3 tablespoons garlic powder In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. Use to season pork, chicken, seafood, steaks or vegetables. Yield: about 3 1/2 cups. The April CBA board of directors meeting was held in Woodland, California at the spring campout on Sunday the 13th. We started at 10 a.m. and didn't get through until 6 p.m. Needless to say, I was ready to eat some supper! I was riding with Don Denison and we both decided we could use a good, hot meal. Just about then I spotted Jody's Mexican Restaurant and told Don - stop right here! So, in we go, and the beautiful Señora Petra Ramirez seated us and brought us some tortilla chips and the most wonderful salsa that I have ever had the pleasure to taste! I ordered the Chili Colorado, which came with lima bean soup (ma

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