For those of you that are local to the Ventura County are, you should be aware of a large body of water that lies within the Ventura/Ojai area and is famous for a few things.
Lake Casitas was the site for the rowing competitions in the 1984 Olympics, the rings are still visible on the docks.
Johnny Cash used to fish and drink there....and is known for the drinking more than the fishing as he was known to pass out on the boat and get "lost". Law enforcement may have been involved once or twice.
Big mouth bass fishing, some of the largest bass in the state, are recorded at this lake.
By people who know how to fish for the darn things, of course.
For people like me and most of my friends, the lake is better known as Lake "No" or Lake "No Fish" because seriously??? For 30 something years I have fished at that lake and only recently have I been successful at catching anything other than a buzz.
Yay for besties & buzzes!
But in the last couple of years there are fewer and fewer boats on the lake due to the quarantine of boats based upon the possibility of importing the rather destructive Quagga Mussel from another body of water. Quarantining your boat is quite frankly a pain in the butt to say the least but it has one very nice advantage.
Whereas on a beautiful day four years ago there would be dozens of boats on the lake all trying to hook the big one, nowadays you are likely to find 10 or less boats on the lake on any given day. Less boats = less people on them to fish = more fish willing to jump on to the end of my worm laden hook.
So far this year I've been out twice and have cruised around the lake with my bestie and fishing buddy, picnicked in sheltered coves and caught 3 large mouth bass and one bluegill. My friends did pretty darn good too, catching 2 fish each, all of very respectable size.
Large Mouth Bass!
But fishing is very hard work....so you have to come outfitted with provisions with which to keep your energy up and your morale high (in case the fish happen not to be biting). So our standard is to hit the lake with a cooler full of beverages of an alcoholic nature (morale boosters), bottles of water (to keep hydrated) and various forms of what I consider to be picnic food (ballast).
(Because one beverage might not be enought we always bring a variety)
One day it is cheese, crackers, prosciutto and fruit, the next day it might be pita chips with assorted dips, olives and spreads. Whatever the selections it needs to fit a few criteria to be considered for a boat picnic as the space is limited, cooler space is reserved primarily for beverages and damn it, I am not eating crap food just because I am on a boat doing something outdoorsy.
This last trip I went with the pita chips and dip, but also wanted some protein in the mix. A quick inventory of the fridge and a consult online and I had a perfect "entree" for us on the boat. Light and tasty, it was perfect as a munchie on my pita chips, but would also be pretty awesome as a sandwich in between some good chewy bread.
Chicken Salad with Red Grapes and a Bleu Cheese Sherry Vinaigrette
2 Chicken Breasts, skinned & deboned
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup Red Grapes, Quartered
3 Stalks Celery, diced 1/4"
3 Green Onions, chopped
1 Egg Yolk
1 T Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Crumbled Bleu Cheese
1 T Sherry Vinegar
2 T Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Poach the chicken breasts gently in the broth (not boiling), remove and cool before chopping in to 1/4-1/2 inch chunks. Mix in with the grapes, celery & onions.
In a food processor, blend the yolks, mustard, bleu cheese & vinegar. Drizzle in the olive oil bit by bit until it is blended completely. Season with Salt & Pepper to taste.
Mix in with chicken and chill. This gets even better as it sits and thinks about itself.Salt & Pepper to Taste.