Steak and Fresh Montana Watercress Recipe

Montana Watercress

Watercress growing in a Montana Stream

Most people associate Montana streams with trout but there’s another delicacy found in them right now, if you know where to look: fresh watercress.

So grab your scissors and a bag, put on some boots and start walking along the stream edges. This is what my friend and I did yesterday and we came back with a really tasty haul. Some of the watercress was black from freezing at night, but the rest had a refreshing, peppery taste that adds so much to a meal. Freshly picked greens are one of my favorite foods and you can really taste the difference from what you get in a grocery store.

We went to a spot my friend has been talking about all winter. I’ve been in Montana less than a year and don’t know these locations myself, but he’s slowly been showing me the best places for ice fishing, big Rainbow Trout, whitefish, and now here.

Snipping Watercress

Use a scissors to snip the tops of the watercress

I guess I shouldn’t reveal the location, but I’ll say it’s near Wade Lake and about a 25 mile drive from West Yellowstone.

Rainbow Trout were darting amongst the rocks and watercress and it was a wonderful 65 degrees yesterday, so it’s the perfect time to go hunting for foods like this. If you can’t find this spot, explore the streams on your own!

Watercress is good in a salad, and adds a delightful taste in a sandwich. Here’s how I prepared it last night.

Yellowstone Traders Steak and Watercress Recipe

1. Thoroughly heat a cast iron skillet
2. While waiting for the skillet to heat, sprinkle a sirloin steak with freshly ground pepper and sea salt, slice two large mushrooms and wash the watercress.


Two mushrooms

Sirloin Steak

Sirloin Steak sprinkled with freshly ground pepper and sea salt

3. When the entire skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of lard and wait until it just begins to smoke.

4. Add the steak and mushrooms to the skillet and cook the steak until medium rare.

Cast Iron Steak and Mushrooms

Cook the steak and mushrooms in the cast iron skillet

5. Remove the steak and mushrooms and place on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

6. Pour 1/2 cup of red wine into the skillet and reduce to about 1/3.

7. Pour the reduced wine over the steak and mushrooms and recover.

8. Rinse out the cast iron skillet with water, place back on the heat, and add two tablespoons of butter.

9. When the butter is melted, add the watercress, season with some salt, and cook about two minutes until it is wilted.

Sautéed Watercress

Sautéed Watercress

10. Put the watercress on top of the steak and enjoy!

Sautéed Steak, Mushrooms and Watercress

Sautéed Steak, Mushrooms and Watercress

It was a great meal.

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Posted in Life in West Yellowstone, Recipes 1 Comment

Photosynth: Hot Pool

Here’s an experiment I did using Microsoft’s Photosynth technology. It’s like a panoramic photo and, for this little hot pool in Yellowstone National Park, you can spin around and zoom in.

You need Microsoft’s Silverlight plugin to get this to work, and I find the navigation a little difficult to use, but it’s an interesting way to explore a photo.

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Yellowstone National Park Opening Weekend 2010 (Video)

Some quick video taken yesterday of various scenes during opening weekend at Yellowstone National Park.

Spring is here and while there is still some snow in the mountains, the area is turning green, the rivers are full and flowing, and the animals are active. I saw two bears yesterday, and of course bison and elk.

I finished the evening by pulling over in the delicious darkness near Mount Haynes, under the stars and listening to an owl hooting in the night. Here’s a short audio file of how it sounded: Owl and Goose

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Jackson Hole Skiing Pictures

It looks like photographer Jack Brauer has left Jackson Hole until next winter season, but he’s compiled an amazing collection of shots and posted them on his website.

It’s worth taking a look, especially if you like skiing and snowboarding and are curious about coming to this area. See what you are missing!

P.S. Also take a look at his Wyoming gallery. Grand Teton National Park is south of Yellowstone and worth combining with your visit here.

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Yesterday’s Sun Setting Behind Two Top Mountain

Two Top Mountain in Sunset

Two Top Mountain in Sunset. Click for larger version.

Yesterday I was driving home from the grocery store and saw the sun setting behind Two Top Mountain and creating a halo around the peak.

I raced as fast as I could to the “old airport” on the west side of West Yellowstone, parked, and shot this through the car window. With sunsets, you have to act fast.

The above was taken with my Tamron 28-75 mm zoom lens [Amazon link]. It’s good quality, but I think people hyperventilate a bit too much about it. The below is the same mountain from the same location, using my Canon 300 mm lens [Amazon link].

Two Top Mountain - close-up

Two Top Mountain - close-up

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10th picture

Highway 191 between West Yellowstone and Bozeman

Highway 191 between West Yellowstone and Bozeman. Taken on November 13th, 2009. Click for larger version.

Judy over at Yellowstone Dreaming tagged me to post the tenth picture I’ve taken. To make digging through all my files easier, I’m using the 10th picture from my new camera.

Here it is, shot on November 13, 2009 on a snowy day while driving from West Yellowstone to Bozeman. I saw some great light shining through the snow clouds and pulled over to grab a shot. It looks almost like a black and white photo, but isn’t.

Speaking of Judy, also check out her post on how to have your own Yellowstone adventure, and for some courage read this one about quitting her jobs to come here.

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Photo: Profile of Flying Raven

Raven Flying Profile

Profile of flying Raven

I drove out yesterday to the south fork of the Madison River to attempt some “bird in flight” photos. I crept around the bend of the creek and saw a blue heron fishing, and he hadn’t seen me yet.

Someday I’ll learn, but I didn’t have my Canon 300 mm lens [Amazon link] on yet and while while changing lenses he flew away. But I know where he’s at now, and will be back.

While waiting to see if he would return, I did manage a shot of this raven flying by.

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Trout en Papillote recipe, plus Wild Bison at Hebgen Lake

Buffalo Herd At Hebgen Lake

Group of wild bison at Hebgen Lake.

It wasn’t just trout and whitefish that I saw yesterday at Hebgen Lake. Here’s a picture of a group of about 15 wild buffalo that we saw while walking back. (Hebgen Lake is behind the trees).

It’s an amazing thing to be walking along a trail and suddenly see a group of buffalo and is good reason to visit Yellowstone National Park since you won’t see this anyplace else in the world. You can’t get into the park until Friday, but if you know where to go around West Yellowstone you’ll have a good chance of seeing some.

As for the fishing, it was a bit slow, but I managed to come up with a Rainbow Trout, and shared a Whitefish that a friend caught. We were using earthworms and pieces of corn that we’d cast out and let sink to the bottom of the lake.

Much of Hebgen Lake is still frozen, but the area around Horse Butte has open water.

I’m experimenting with recipes right now and like how this one turned out. It’s a nice change from frying, which so far for me is always too oily. Here’s how I made the trout pictured below. The recipe is a general guideline – you can experiment with the spices and vegetable mix.

Yellowstone Traders Trout en Papillote Recipe
1. pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. lay the fish filets on the top half of piece of parchment paper
3. sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley flakes
4. slice the following and use them to cover the fish: a lemon, zucchini, carrots, celery, onion.
5. add a pat of butter and drizzle with olive oil
6. fold the parchement paper so it covers everything, then start at one edge and make many little folds until almost completely sealed and you just have one fold left.
7. pour some dry vermouth into the parchment packet through the hole
8. seal the parchment
9. put on a tray and cook for 15 minutes
Trout Paillote Recipe

Trout en Papillote

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Posted in Fishing, Photography, Recipes 4 Comments

Buffalo Hides: from Historical Account to Modern Panorama

I have a couple of developments on the buffalo hide front that may be of interest:

1. I enjoy reading historical accounts of the buffalo and found an oral history taken by the American Museum of Natural History back in 1913. They spoke with a female member of the Hidatsa tribe and she talked about how they used buffalo hides. You can read more about this on my e-commerce site. I also include pictures comparing a summer buffalo hide to one in winter.

2. I have a great new buffalo hide available and, for something new, I’ve created a panorama of it. You can zoom in and out as well as scroll back and forth. My whole goal is to help you envision how the buffalo rug will look in your cabin or mountain lodge. You can go to the panorama page by clicking here.

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Camera Review: Canon G10/G11

Photographing the Madison River with the Canon G10

Photographing the Madison River with the Canon G10 (while wearing fingerless buffalo fiber gloves). This camera is excellent for taking to Yellowstone National Park.

The Canon G10, and now the G11 [Amazon link], is an ideal camera for taking to Yellowstone National Park. It can (just barely) fit into your pants pocket, and easily fit into your jacket or purse, so you’ll always have it within reach.

And you always want a camera within reach at the park.

I’ve been driving through on dreary, grey days and it moments the clouds change and there is a stunning landscape. You need to pull out a camera, fast, because those conditions don’t last long. Carrying 35 mm equipment all the time can be a hassle, but with the G10 or G11 you’ll be able to take a quality photo.

Here are the features of this camera that I find especially well-suited for Yellowstone:

Fast start time. A buffalo, a moose in the road, and eagle flying: they are everywhere, but you just can’t predict when. I’ve never missed a shot waiting for the camera to turn on. What this also means is that you let the camera shut down to save battery life and not worry about it causing you to miss shots.

Long battery life. Will it last an entire week? Probably not, I’ve never been out during the day and had the battery go dead, and have gone two days. For 35mm cameras I always get a second battery, but I don’t feel the need for the G10/G11. Just remember to recharge at night.

Mountain range in Yellowstone National Park taken using the G10's stitch assist. It's actually two pictures merged together so I could get more of the mountains in the picture.

Mountain range in Yellowstone National Park taken using the G10's stitch assist. It's actually two pictures merged together so I could get more of the mountains in the picture.

Stitch assist. You’ll be photographing the grand mountain vistas in Yellowstone and to get even more coverage, the G10/G11 offers “stitch assist”. This is when you take two, three or more photos side-by-side and in your computer attach them to together for a very wide shot. The camera will show your previous shot and let you line up the new one against it. This is very handy so that you don’t miss a section.

Mount Haynes picture taken with the Canon G10 in macro mode.

Macro Mode. Why list macro mode? When I’m in a place like Yellowstone I don’t feel like taking pictures of tiny things like mushrooms, which could be found anywhere. I want to capture the essence of the location. Take a look at this photo with Mount Haynes in the background.

I used macro mode to focus up close on the flower, while positioning the mountain in the background. The macro setting throws the background slightly out of focus, creating a feeling of depth. If I didn’t have macro mode, I couldn’t have gotten this shot.

Rapid shooting. For the Yellowstone mud bubbles, the best thing to do is hold down the shutter button and takes lots of shots. One of them is bound to turn out. The G10/G11 has a burst mode so that you can get your Yellowstone mud bubble shot.

This camera is great for beginners who are interested in becoming more creative with their photography, and good for advanced photographers who want an easy-to-carry back-up camera to their big and heavy camera bags.

The handling and feel of this camera is a joy and you won’t be disappointed.

Note: All of the pictures here were taken with the Canon G10. The latest model is called the G11 which is better in every respect, so you definitely want to buy that one, though there’s nothing wrong with the G10 if you can get a good price on one.

Need more information? Canadian photographer Darwin Wiggett gives his G11 review here. (We all wish he would photograph Yellowstone with his distinctive style in capturing mountain light. Encourage him!)

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