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Friday, 15 April 2016

CHINATI HOT SPRINGS .. . and BRUSSELS SPROUTS Caesar Salad

Nicole says she doesn’t know anyone, apart from me, who still uses guidebooks.  I do have a pretty good collection of them and it’s still growing.   

When I started planning our trip to Marfa, I found this brief recommendation in a sidebar about a scenic drive on Route 170 in Lonely Planet’s USA:

Keep going past Presidio and just past Ruidoso, and you’ll come to the turnoff  for Chinati Hot Springs:  Locals love the isolation of the outdoor tubs, campgrounds and cabins.

I checked my maps.   On one, Ranch Road 2810 from Marfa petered out before reaching Ruidoso, but another showed a sort of faint track going all the way down.  Nowhere did I see Chinati Hot Springs.  Still I figured we could find it so I phoned Nicole and asked if she’d be interested. 
“Chinati?  Yes! yes!”  was her response. 
  
Hot springs are pretty special, but, still, I was a bit surprised by her enthusiasm.   More about that later.

I immediately phoned about booking.  An incredibly upbeat Southern female set me up with two side by side cabins.

When we were actually on the road, Nicole asked me what sounded like an odd question.  "So, Mom, what day are we doing the Chinati tour?"

I was a bit nonplussed: "Uh, well, like I just said, we're going to the hot springs tomorrow."  

Well!  The look on Nicole's face . . . Turned out she had something else in mind ALTOGETHER!  

The main reason/the ONLY reason for going to Marfa is to do the Chinati Foundation ART TOUR!  

The very famous minimalist artist, Donald Judd (I'd never heard of him), "moved to Marfa from New York in the 1970s and took over a former army post, using the abandoned buildings to create and display one of the world's largest permanent installations of minimalist art."  

Fortunately, a hasty phone call secured a couple of spots on a tour. 

Okay, now we're okay with the Hot Springs . . . which actually once belonged to Donald Judd!

First, we picked up glamping supplies:  wine, steak, etc.  

Then on to Ranch Road 2810 which is only 50 miles long but is supposed to take us one hour and 40 minutes.  At first, it's all paved and we're thinking no problem . . . then, suddenly it's just gravel and rocks and mountains!  

But the scenery is so SPECTACULAR that Nicole asked to stop to get a picture.  Of course, no picture can capture it so you'll just have to take the trip :).   

Our cabins:
Bryan and I were in Dos Amigos:
Nicole and Kepler had their own outdoor hot tub :)
Here's the Hot Springs communal tub:

Cold pool:

 There's a dry river bed to explore:

and climbing apparatus: 

Will we go back some day?  YES!
*************

Nicole loves brussels sprouts so I am always delighted when I find an interesting recipe for them.

BRUSSEL  SPROUTS  Caesar Salad

             Based on Nathan Lyon’s recipe in PEOPLE MAGAZINE, February 2, 2015

2 cups Romaine lettuce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1/3 cup mayonnaise
½ tsp Dijon mustard
¾ tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp minced garlic
6 anchovy fillets (optional)
¼ tsp hot sauce (or more to taste)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

·        Grate Parmesan and set aside.
·        Wash and tear lettuce.  Put in large salad bowl.
·        If using anchovies, chop and mash them in a small bowl. 
·        Mince the garlic and add to the small bowl.
·        Add mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and hot sauce to the small bowl.  Whisk to combine.

·        Thinly slice brussels sprouts. 



·        Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add oil and brussels sprouts.  Stir for 7 to 9 minutes until sprouts are lightly charred.  Transfer to the large salad bowl while they are warm or when cooled.

·        Stir dressing into the large salad bowl and sprinkle with Parmesan.  


"This is now my favorite Caesar ever!" was one comment at the table.