Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Cinch him up, spur hard, and let him buck…”

Outside my kitchen window a pair of wild Merriam turkeys with a clutch of chicks investigate my flower beds to see what my bird feeders have spilled.
They're my clean-up crew.

On the distant hillside a whitetail doe cautiously leads a spindly legged spotted fawn down to our north pasture. As I stroll along the long gravel driveway an osprey, the fish eagle, wings overhead on his way to beat the fly-fishermen to a breakfast of rainbow, brown, or native cutthroat trout from Wolfpack Ranch’s gurgling neighbor, one of the world's most pristine fly fishing streams. While I'm at the mailbox, after my leisurely morning stroll, a pickup passes pulling a float boat and carrying a local fishing guide and a couple of eager clients, and I wave and get a smile and wave in return—It's the country way, even if you don’t know the passersby, and I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Slipping the paper out of its yellow plastic container next to our oversized mailbox, I see our local paper—the Missoulian from over twenty five miles distant—sporting headlines GLACIER PARK HIGHWAY OPEN. Good news graces the front page. The horrors of the rest of the country and world are relegated to the second page or deeper in the paper’s bowel, where they well belong.

Ours is a good news type of place.

And we love it here.

At Wolfpack Ranch, in the shadow of Montana's beautiful Sapphire Mountains, we're all about good news, good times, good folks, and, of course, great food and country cooking. What country depends upon what's in the pantry on a particular day.

Although we love it here more than anywhere we've been we feel blessed to continue to travel and gain wonderful new friends, to collect great memories, and to gather hundreds of wonderful recipes. We always try to take smiles, open minds, and open hearts, and as a result traveling has been a joy.

And every country we’ve visited offers exciting, enticing, exhilarating flavors and foods.

Most of the cooking at Wolfpack is up to me and I've been told I'm a fair hand at the art of the spatula, and the chore is fine by me as I love nothing more than bringing loving friends and family around the table to enjoy a great meal, a decent wine, and most of all, each other. In fact if you love a thing, it’s not a chore at all. And yeah, yeah, I can cook wild game or fresh caught trout over an open fire and am adept with cast iron including a venison stew or done-to-a-turn perfect cobbler in a Dutch oven, but that’s a small part of cooking with the Montana mystique.

Here's a great Dutch oven recipe given to me by my good friend Trapper Badovinac, I love it, his camp hunters love it, and so will you. Learn more about Trapper at www.shootingstarpublications.com

Dutch Oven Oat Dinner Rolls

2 1/3rd Cups water
1 Cup oats
2/3rd Cup brown sugar
3 Tbl butter
1 ½ Tsp salt
2 Pkg (4 ½ tsp) yeast
5-6 Cups flour

In a saucepan bring water to a boil, add oats. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, butter, and salt. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool to between 90 – 115 degrees F. Stir in yeast, then 3 cups of flour. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead and add flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Put in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down and knead again on a floured surface. Then form balls and place in the bottom of a greased 12" standard Dutch oven. Let rise until rolls are 1 -2" from top. Place 11 briquettes under and 19 on top of Dutch oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

Don't lose your breath will all the pats on the back you'll be getting.

See you soon for more from The Kitchen at Wolfpack Ranch and Cooking Wild & Wonderful.

Here's a peek at our neighbors at Wolfpack Ranch:



  1. Yum. Now if you could just add a recipe for those good flaky Dutch Oven biscuits . . .

    Really like your blogs, Larry. Wish some of my characters would get in a situation where I could use some of this.

  2. L.J.,

    These blogs of yours make me want to cook! (And that's a phenomenon!)I always enjoy reading about your life and these recipes are really wonderful. Do you ever have your characters cooking these kinds of things in your stories?

  3. How about a standard oven? How would I adapt this?? I'm an Eastern greenhorn, remember. ;-)

  4. Cheryl, I'm finishing up a cookbook called California Cocina, which has lots and lots of recipes from old California, and lots and lots of excerpts about food and cooking from books of the time and from my own cooking and kitchen scenes from my novels set in California. It's great fun writing and hopefully will be fun reading, and cooking from.

  5. this is typical of what's in California Cocina:

    The purser maintained a storeroom: tallow for grease; tar; whale oil for lamps; a slopchest to replace uniforms; tools; sailcloth; and shelves and bins holding every other imaginable item that might be of need for both ship and personal use in the middle of the wide Atlantic; kegs of rum, dried vegetables, pickles, salt pork and beef, salt cod, flour, beans, suet, raisins, butter, bread, wine, brandy, condiments; vinegar, olive oil, mustard seed; and live stock. Prunes, pickled sorrel, onions, and sugar were kept, but only for the captain's table or the sick.
    To both the joy and bane of the middies, the Independence kept a complement of live chickens, sheep, and hogs aboard, the only way to provide fresh meat when at sea. Hog, sheep, and chicken pens--for meat only, as the hens promptly stopped laying when on board--huddled first gun deck forward, where they provided some of the least desirable duty, slopping and sloshing, for those who needed dressing down.

    Aboard the 84 gun frigate Independence
    from the novel Rush to Destiny
    by L. J. Martin

  6. And this:

    Los Angeles is a city of some 3,000 or 4,000 inhabitants, nearly a century old, a regular old Spanish-Mexican town, built by the old padres, Catholic Spanish missionaries, before the American independence. The houses are but one story, mostly built of adobe or sun-burnt brick, with very thick walls and flat roofs. They are so low because of earthquakes, and the style is Mexican. The inhabitants are a mixture of old Spanish, Indian, American, and German Jews; the last two have come in lately. The language of the natives is Spanish, and I have commenced learning it. The only thing they appear to excel in is riding, and certainly I have never seen such riders.
    Here is a great plain, or rather a gentle slope, from the Pacific to the mountains. We are on this plain about twenty miles from the sea and fifteen from the mountains, a most lovely locality; all that is wanted naturally to make it a paradise is water, more water. Apples, pears, plums, figs, olives, lemons, oranges, and "the finest grapes in the world," so the books say, pears of two and a half pounds each, and such things in porportion. The weather is soft and balmy--no winter, but a perpetual spring and summer. Such is Los Angeles, a place where "every prospect pleases and only man is vile."

    From the journal of
    William H. Brewer
    Sunday Evening, December 9, 1860
    Los Angeles

  7. L.J., that sounds like another winner--you don't know what that means, coming from me--I never cooked when I was younger--my mom was TIRED as she had me when she was 35 and my other sisters were 10 and 12 when I came along! LOL Now my kids are out of the house and it's just Gary and me so I'm not motivated anymore. But these recipes of yours and the text that you've put with them--in both books--is something I would buy and use!

  8. Meg said

    << How about a standard oven? How would I adapt this?? I'm an Eastern greenhorn, remember. ;-) >>

    Meg - Put the rolls in a 9 x 13 greased pan. Bake the rolls in your oven at 350 for 30 minutes.


  9. These sound so wonderful. I will have to see if I can adapt to gluten-free. It should be a fun experience. Looking forward to the next book on the early California cuisine.

  10. Thanks, Trapper!! Will try these for sure.