Saturday In Miaoli

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Photos by MJ Klein & Hui-chen.  Warning – FOOD PHOTOS!

We admit it.  We love going to the cabin in Miaoli.  We went back on Saturday but this time we introduced some friends to Becky’s family and their very cool place to relax.  Here’s the story:

Saturday in Miaoli

The day began with me preparing the Dutch oven for some camp fare.  These are boneless beef ribs that I’m taking out of the package.  The Dutch oven is hot and ready to go.

Saturday in Miaoli

Saturday in Miaoli

Browning the meat: the critical first step in preparing meat dishes in a Dutch oven.

Saturday in Miaoli

The meat is starting to brown up nicely.  I did add a little garlic at this point.

Saturday in Miaoli

My secret ingredient is oyster sauce.  I don’t have to add any salt to the dish and the oyster sauce gives it a very nice flavor base.  In this shot I’ve also added some bottled water to the pot.

Saturday in Miaoli

After the meat is browned and the liquids are added, it’s time to add the remaining ingredients to the pot.  In this case it’s the standard stew vegetables, potatoes carrots and onions, plus more garlic.

Saturday in Miaoli

Now this is the fun part.  The cabin has a large variety of herbs and fruits growing, thanks to the careful attention of Becky’s father.  I cut some fresh rosemary and put it right on top of the packed pot.

Saturday in Miaoli

This is a baby watermelon that they have growing on the property.

Saturday in Miaoli

Checking on the progress of the food.  We see that the rosemary has browned some.  This releases a fantastic flavor that is hard to duplicate otherwise.

Saturday in Miaoli

In the meantime, with the Dutch oven fare coming along well, it’s time to light up the grill.

Saturday in Miaoli

This is Carrie and Thoth, hanging out and enjoying the drinks and the company.  Those are devilled eggs in front of Carrie.  I haven’t had those for ages and I ate quite a few of them.  Thanks for making them, Carrie!  Carrie is sampling my concoction of Mekong Thai rum and CC Lemon. I’ve cut way down on cola products recently and it’s had a dramatic and positive effect on how I feel.  Fortunately, CC Lemon makes a great mixer with rum!  There is some debate whether Mekong (actual spelling is “Mekhong” on the English label) is actually a rum or a whisky.  Either way, I like it.

Saturday in Miaoli

This is John, relaxing.  All he needs is a smoking jacket!

Saturday in Miaoli

I was very happy to look up and see our friend Patrick arriving.  I wasn’t sure if he would be able to make it or not.  Great to have you with us, Patrick!  For those of you who don’t know, the woman is my wife, Hui-chen.

Saturday in Miaoli

Becky checks the charcoal on the grill and prepares the cooking surface for John.

Saturday in Miaoli

This cool looking thing is a teppanyaki plate.  Becky’s dad had it made to his own design.  It sits over the grill and makes for a nice cooking surface for that kind of cuisine.

Saturday in Miaoli

John whipped up a sampler version of his famous burgers and cooked them on the teppanyaki plate.  There are 2 noteworthy pieces of information about this photograph.  The brick is to keep too much hot air from venting out and burning the chef (it needs a chimney and top).  The white material in the center of the burgers is blue cheese. John made it very clear that this recipie is not for the burgers that he is known for.  He didn’t want to tip his hand entirely because John has challenged me to a burger cookoff that we hope to be showing you in the near future.  This event will be judged by the attendees.  It should be a great competetion! I can tell you after tasting these burgers that I am going to have to pull out all the stops in order to beat John!

Saturday in Miaoli

Saturday in Miaoli

Now it’s time to check the Dutch oven and see how things are progressing:

Saturday in Miaoli

Looking good.  Time to add something else.

Saturday in Miaoli

Saturday in Miaoli

I enjoy cooking with fruit and Taiwan fruit is some of the best tasting in the entire world.  I cut some nectarines and split the pieces by hand, removing the pits.  These went right into the pot and cooked for about 20 more minutes.

Saturday in Miaoli

This is the finished pot, on the table ready to be opened and served.

Saturday in Miaoli

This is an overview of the table.  I’ll show you what that stuff is to the far left, shortly.

Saturday in Miaoli

The teppanyaki plate is great for cooking in butter or margarine as is done here in Taiwan.

Saturday in Miaoli

This is the finished boneless beef rib dish.  The rib meat turned out fork-tender.  The Dutch oven is known for tenderizing meat like that.  The rosemary flavor was not overpowering but it was a dominant feature of this dish.  I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out.

Saturday in Miaoli

After stuffing our faces with burgers, grilled vegetables and beef ribs, it was time for me to prepare one more dish.  This is my 10″ Dutch oven.  In previous photographs I was using Becky’s father’s Dutch oven, a 12″ model.  Here we see the 10″ oiled up and on the fire.

Saturday in Miaoli

Saturday in Miaoli

This concoction is a chocolate cake mix, with a can of cherry pie filling added.  It’s all mixed together in a bag and then squeezed out into the pot.  Yeah, I know it looks like something else.  But just wait….

Saturday in Miaoli

Top coals are essential to Dutch oven cooking, and are in fact, one of the main aspects of successful Dutch oven cooking.  Here the fire on the bottom is minimal while there are plenty of top coals.  This assures a nice even heating for baking.

Saturday in Miaoli

I left it like this for about 15 minutes.  The total cooking time was just about 30 minutes.

Saturday in Miaoli

In the meantime, I heated up my other trick for the evening – my vegetable griller.

Saturday in Miaoli

As I’ve stated many times before, the secret to great grill flavor is smoke. If you don’t have smoke, you don’t have grill flavor.  The holes allow the smoke to come back up and flavor the food.

Saturday in Miaoli

This system actually works.  You have to be very careful of flareups, however.

Saturday in Miaoli

Now, imagine this dish with that nice smoky flavor you can only get from grilling, and you can start to appreciate what it tastes like.

Saturday in Miaoli

Becky’s brother wanted to try grilling the vegetables.  Its so easy and a lot of fun.

Saturday in Miaoli

After the grilled vegetables, the cake was finished.

Saturday in Miaoli

This is camping food at it’s best.  Chocolate-cherry cake.  So good you don’t need and frosting, and not the least bit dried out.  Moist and flavorful.  Wanna go camping with us next time?

Saturday in Miaoli

Now, after cooking and stuffing our faces for hours, not to mention drinking, it was time to get down to the entertainment portion of the program!  That’s Carrie at the mic.

Saturday in Miaoli

I brought my Yamaha PA system with me, along with my drum machine.  Carrie and I did some live guitar/vocals over programmed bass and drum tracks.  It was a lot of fun.

Saturday in Miaoli

Ahhhh….  relaxing in the evening to some classic rock.

Saturday in Miaoli

But the real fun was yet to come.  We hooked up a DVD player to the TV, and the audio to the PA system and created the Ultimate Taiwanese Experience: karaoke!  Here Thoth is giving us a rendition of I don’t know what, but it sure was fun.

Saturday in Miaoli

Saturday in Miaoli

Saturday in Miaoli

Saturday in Miaoli

Like some surreal lounge act, Carrie and I belted out some pretty-decent-sounding duets.  I can’t remember when I had so much fun just fooling around with some songs.  Carrie sings very well.  You could come with us next time and hear for yourself.

Saturday in Miaoli

While some of us were singing, others were catching river shrimp and cooking them on the grill.

Saturday in Miaoli

Sharon sang a couple of Chinese songs for us.  Other than a few of them, the rest of the evening was all English songs.  So we’re glad Sharon sang some Chinese songs.  She sounded great.

Saturday in Miaoli

Our parting shot is John and Becky looking for river shrimp.  We’ve shown this activity before in the other articles about Miaoli.  You may enjoy reading them by clicking on the links at the end of this article.

I’ll leave you with one video clip.


Saturday In Miaoli from MJ Klein on Vimeo.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about our Saturday in Miaoli.  Hope you can join us next time!

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30 comments

  1. Thanks for having me. I had a great time eating your delicious grub and listening to you and guys do music. I’ll have to show up earlier next time to take in the dutch oven process in its entirety. I fell asleep on the train back, and didn’t come to until Chidu.

    Patrick Cowsills last blog post..I’m Calling It Aboriginal Taipei

  2. I’m getting hungry again just looking at everything. We never eat as well as when we’re with you guys! John and I have been waiting to get to the cabin for ages and we’re so glad we finally made it out. It was great to meet Thoth, and I was really happy to see Patrick again.

    I’ll share my photos and story later this week. It’s really a shame that you didn’t post more of you singing. I’d like to listen again and take a gander at the first video I’ve ever shot!

    Thanks to you both for the amazing food and the good times as always. We’ll see you soon!

  3. Sorry. I had to come back and comment after scrolling up to see your warning. Just a little note on the food: The meat was mouth-watering and fell apart in your mouth. The grilled veggies were perfect and the dutch oven cake was out-of-this-world. I feel sorry for all the folks who missed it!

    1. Carrie » you are too kind. naturally you didn’t mention your deviled eggs, brownies or John’s burgers. A-san wants the recipe for the burgers, btw. there was just too much good food!

  4. MJ. What a great post my friend. I would have given a leg and an arm to have been there and taste the food and enjoy the company. I have read all blogs on Miaoli and it looks like a ripper of a place.

    The cake would have been a real winner, I saw what Carrie said about it. Thanks for sharing with us all and I hope that I do get the chance to see the cabin in person one day.

    Bruntys last blog post..Cheering and blind people performing, Thailand.

    1. Brunty » as i have said before, if you can get over here to Taiwan for a few days off you don’t be disappointed! we’re more than welcome here anytime my friend! we’d love to have you join us!

  5. What happened to the bush hat? I don’t see it.

    Sorry I missed it, it looks like it was a lot of fun. I did have a great photo shoot in a tattoo parlor in Taipei though.

    cfimagess last blog post..Tai Thai

    1. cfimages » the bush hat was sitting on a pile of stuff we brought. i just didn’t feel like wearing it :).

      we did have a lot of fun and you’re welcome to join us next time. good work on the photo shoot – i took a look on flickr. my first thoughts were what Vance Vaughn said in The Wedding Crashers that lower back tattoos were like a target!

  6. Pingback: thoth
  7. Hi, MJ. Comment #15 was not mine. Some spammer, I believe. I hate those guys who just crap all over people’s sites.

    Anyway, once again, I had a really nice time. I blogged about the visit to the cabin about a week or two ago. I left a comment on Carrie’s site, but her spam filter is so strong it filters out ordinary, legitimate comments comments. Not the first time it has happened. I guess it is a problem unique to Wordrpess. I am on Blogger, and I know some people on Livejournal. Neither of those sites seem to have that problem.

    Thoth Harriss last blog post..Haruki Murakami, or Where is Real Evil?

    1. Thoth Harris » fighting spam is an ongoing battle that never ends. sites like Carrie’s that feature an attractive young woman author tend to get a lot more aggressive spam than blogs written by fat old men like me. naturally, if i were her, i would set the filter to be correspondingly aggressive. this isn’t a “problem” that is unique to WordPress so to speak, but the result of the fact that a WordPress blog actually allows one to make adjustments and have custom features, where a Blogger blog is just whatever the Blogger people feel like allowing you to do. 100% of the spam comments posted to my old Blogger blog made it through to the moderation panel because they were sent from Blogger accounts, making them seem like legitimate comments. with my WordPress blog, perhaps 5% of the spam comments make it to moderation as the software can figure out the other 95% and trash them. Blogger (don’t know anything about LiveJournal except that there is no RSS feed – stupid!) requires the author to moderate all comments. tedious, time consuming and totally unnecessary given modern tools like Spam Karma and Akismet.

      if your comment gets filtered, don’t take it personally. just post it again and drop the blog owner a quick email. maybe there is something about the content of the comment that made it seem like a spam comment, such as too many URLs, or whatever.

      thanks Thoth. great meeting you and Sharon.

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