Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Club Borba 2 (Food/Electric Boogaloo)

The food of Club Borba, much like that of any important cultural or family celebration, is the focal point of the entire event. In the weeks leading up to Club Borba all the attendees send in a check for $40 (yes that's it) to cover the costs of their 3 day food and drink bill. Considering how much some of the guests eat and drink, this is an amazing steal.

Breakfasts at the Borba's are always a complete meal, hearty camping fare (to make up for all those calories that you burned sleeping on the hammock). Lunch is an easy make-your-own sandwiches bar and Dinner, sweet Dinner is one of those events that you wait all day for. Sometimes it takes all day to cook a Borba dinner and it's never predictable. There is always a little surprise or a twist on the old. Plus, I mean, The Borba's know how to eat, and eat WELL. Dinners alone are worth the 7 hour drive.

There is a "Summer Kitchen" by the pond, that acts as food central. It is basically a screened in roof with two fridges, a sink, a griddle, coffee maker, prep table and a ton of food. All the cooking utensils are kept in huge Tupperware bins to keep out the "critters." Nobody cleans the floor, it's more like a dirt floor but the rest is immaculate not dirty at all (other than the floor because it's a dirt floor). People are always volunteering their cleaning skills and before the weekend the Borba's do a once over on the place to "make up for what Mother Nature does all winter." There is a table inside reserved for snacks. If you, touch anything else in the kitchen, it is rumored that Merry Borba will cut of your hands. But there's no need to go anywhere else because the snack table is covered with fresh fruit, chips and pretzels, and three huge Tupperware containers of Merry's famous cookies; Oatmeal Cherry, Chocolate Chip, and Oatmeal Toffee. It's like the Kraft Services table on a movie set but better cause it's made with love.

Then there is the BBQ. Two years ago, when the BBQ had to be rebuilt following a flood, the weekend was labeled "The Year Of The BBQ." Yeah, it's so awesome that it's resurrection inspired the entire weekend. When they rebuilt it, they went BIG. With a fireplace in the front and a 3 foot wood grill on the side, that beast can cook for 100. This year the big daddy of BBQs yielded a Borba favorite; 'Bay Leaf Chicken.'


The Cabin Property is covered with Bay trees and the Borba's cut off a dozen branches, wash them and...

...slap three dozen chickens into submission. The chicken is lightly salted and beaten on each side by the women of Club Borba (to the beat of the band). They beat the chicken for 10 minutes or so on each side releasing the bay oils and imparting the amazing flavor of the forest into dinner.


Cooked (but blurry, I was excited). To accompany the Bay Chicken was a griddle project of a grand scale...

Four cans of canned stewed tomatoes are slapped on a hot grill with about a dozen cloves of chopped garlic.

Then Merry added about 2 dozen chopped zucchini's.

The aroma was awesome.

Add 10 loaves of garlic bread and Merry's secret and famous macaroni salad...

Friday Night's Dinner. Awesome.

Saturday morning we were welcomed by muffins, a hot pot of coffee, Bailey's for those who cared for it and an assembly line of breakfast burritos: pork or turkey sausage, eggs, avocado, Merry's homemade hot sauce and salsa. I was hungry and didn't take photos, sorry. Use your imagination.

In the afternoon, we walked into the town of Volcano (about a mile away), ate garlic fries and watched the USA/Ghana game (boo) at the oldest saloon in California (yay). We walked back in some serious heat and had a little sandwich back at the Summer kitchen. Then The Husband played horseshoes while I napped. I mean come on, vacation is the best.

While we were gone, this was going on...

Yeah, Greek Shrimp. Some camping food. It was an appetizer Saturday night but I have had this as an entree before. It's superb. The flavors are fantastic, the sauce that it makes is so amazing when served with warm pita or crusty bread to soak it up. It was made by Rick's assistant Roxanne Tobler and her friend Laura Kaiser. Laura won awards with this recipe and was sweet enough to share it with us. It's insane, trust me make this.

Greek Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese
Yields: 6 servings

2 lbs Large Raw Shrimp, peeled and de-veined
½ c Olive Oil
1 med Onion, julienne wedge
1 lb Roma Tomatoes, peeled and seeded, julienne wedge
1 T Garlic, chopped
1 T Fresh Oregano
1 c Dry White Wine
½ c Feta Cheese, crumbled
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Fresh Parsley
Pita Bread or Crusty French Bread

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
2. In the hot skillet sauté shrimp, onion, tomatoes, and garlic.
3. Just as the shrimp starts to turn pink, add the wine and cook for a few minutes.
4. Stir in the oregano.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Caution: the feta will be salty)
6. Top with feta cheese.
7. Place the pan under the broiler or in a VERY hot oven for 2-3 minutes.
8. Slide onto a platter or serve directly from the pan.
9. Garnish with parsley.
10. Serve with wedges of pita or crusty French bread.

For making large batches and when no oven is available:
1. Cook the onion and tomatoes and set aside.
2. Cook the shrimp and garlic until the shrimp just starts to turn pink.
3. Add the wine and reduce. (for very large batches, reduce part of the wine first)
4. Add the tomatoes, onion, and oregano.
5. Top the hot shrimp with feta cheese and parsley.
6. Serve.

Then (yes there was more) this ...

It turns out that the Borbas have a kahlua "oven." Just like in Hawaii where kahlua pork is a cultural and gastronomical staple, kahlua meats are huge in Volcano, California. A few years ago, Rick dug out a deep and extra wide hole just off of to the side of the volleyball court. He placed a large unused oil drum in the hole and filled the outside of the hole with sand. When he is ready to cook, he lights a fire inside the oil drum and lets it burn big and hot. Then he places a gigantic pork roast and a whole turkey inside the drum on a rack. He puts a lid on the drum weighs it down with bricks and walks away. Starved of oxygen, the fire dies down but the sand around the drum retains the heat and the drum acts as an oven. Four hours later...



Homemade coleslaw

Want some beans with your bacon? (Merry made plain ones for me)

My dinner with a little horseradish sauce. BTW they never refrigerate their watermelon, they just throw it in the pond and pull it out when it's time to cut it up. Same with the kegs but they don't cut those up.

Sunday breakfast was epic. Ham, fried eggs and pancakes the size of my head.

Some were plain but some were...


The boys were in control at Breakfast (including The Husband, I almost peed my pants when I saw him cooking). They cranked out pancakes like seasoned fry cooks.

These pancakes were just awesome, fluffy, light and perfect. There's something about pancakes...

We usually stay at Club Borba until Monday morning (to help clean up). But this year we had to drive home after Sunday breakfast for a shoot on Monday morning. When we got home, we were refreshed, relaxed and (still full). The dog slept the whole way home, all night and into the next day. Even though we had to cut our trip a little short, we were so supremely satisfied by the time that we had up there it didn't seem to matter. Next year can't come too soon.

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