March 2009April 2009 May 2009

04/30 - Elwha Update

Spring is coming to the Elwha Trail which starts at Whiskey Bend. There are more people, more trilliums and even some other flowers around. The male grouse are lekking, setting up bachelor pads to attract les femmes. Their deep, booming cry, almost a glottal stop, apparently does something for the ladies. There must be a good number of grouse about judging from the sound of things.

An obligatory trillium shot

Looking downstream

A local orchid

Keywords: elwha, flowers, spring, trillium, grouse

Do you have one of these that works with propane? Give us a call or send email.

04/29 - Good To Go Oven Progress

Good To Go has gotten the go ahead to fire up their indoor oven, but they have to convert their oven to work with propane rather than natural gas. Apparently this requires redoing some of the fittings, and wouldn't you guess, there isn't a standard conversion kit. They've been tracking down parts. Does that pipe in the picture look familiar? Maybe you can help. Let's hope they can find what they need to get their new oven up and running.

Once this oven is ready, the plan is to start work on an outdoor, wood fired oven. This sounds like quite a project, and it is going to take a lot of bricks. We'll keep you posted as things develop.

Keywords: good to go

04/27 - Russian Easter 2009

We are recovering from our latest Russian Easter party. Yes, we know, Russian Easter was last week, but we are Kaleberg Kalendrists. Like the Old Calendrists and the New Calendrists who have been arguing about the date of the holiday since the new Gregorian calendar came out, we too have our own ideas as to when to celebrate Easter, and this year we chose yesterday.

We served the traditional meal of blini with salmon roe, Enemies of the Czar, Trotsky's Bane, home made sausage, and pan fried pelmeni. (For more on this, see our recipes page.) For dessert, there was a spirited defense of Moscow against the Monster Napoleon. It took a fair bit of flaming cognac and a lot of dessert spoons to get the proper scorched earth look. We also had a special guest dessert, Trotsky's balm, one of his mother's recipe. It looked suspiciously like a flan, but we know enough to keep our suspicions to ourselves.

The domes of Saint Basil's

The Kaleberg Russian Easter awaits the onslaught of our own ravening horde.

Moscow awaits the onslaught of the Monster Napoleon.

Keywords: russian easter, salmon, recipe, kale

Some of their rye bread

04/25 - Bell Street Bakery

Bell Street Bakery opened a while back in Sequim. We haven't made a visit yet, but we did get to try a couple of their loaves, and we've heard a bit from our friends. Their whole wheat sandwich bread was excellent, with a great grainy texture and a lot of whole wheat flavor. We made some simple sardine sandwiches, and the the bread was a perfect match. Their rye bread was also good, but being familiar with New York City style deli rye, we found it a bit sweet and lacking the sour tang of a real deli rye.

Our friends, based in Sequim, report that their root vegetable bread is great, and it uses root vegetables from Nash Huber's farm. We have to get out there and see what else is available, but so far, things look promising. The whole area is undergoing a bakery renaissance. Ever since Bonny's closed we've had to bring in fresh bread from elsewhere, but now Bell Street Bakery is open, Good To Go in Port Angeles has gotten the go ahead to fire up their oven, and there may be one or two other bakeries opening in Sequim in the near future. We live in exciting times.

Keywords: good to go, nash huber, new york city, port angeles, food

04/19 - Flowers Along The Spruce Railroad Trail

We are finally having a few real spring days, and that means that April showers are at long last yielding April flowers. Of particular note, the trilliums are coming out along the Spruce Railroad Trail. These three petaled flowers are a bit hard to spot, at least at first. Our experience is that we don't see any trilliums until we are a mile or two down the trail, but then, once we see our first blossom, we start seeing lots of others. On the final leg of our hike it seems like every other plant is a trillium, and we can't help but wonder how we missed a veritable carpet of these lovely flowers.

There are also a lot of other flowers blooming, including some of the succulents growing out of the rocks in the sunnier parts of the trail. If you crouch down and look carefully you can see lots of little flowers in the sunny patches. We aren't sure of what all these flowers are, but the ones here were growing out of gravel, which is probably why they are blooming so early, where "so early" is strictly comparative.

Keywords: flowers, spring, spruce railroad, trillium

Red Dog Farm from Chimacum is a market newcomer.

04/19 - Farmers' Market Update

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market seems to grow a bit every week as new produce, new farmers and new vendors show up every week. We don't remember seeing Red Dog Farms last week, nor the Wild West Seafood folks who were selling oysters and ling cod. The QuilBay oyster and clam people were back too.

Keywords: farmers' market, oysters

04/19 - Expecting

We were at Dungeness Valley Creamery and noticed a number of cows in the field towards the entrance. They're with calf, that is, they're expected to deliver quite soon. Of course, cows deliver calves all through the year at the creamery. After all, that's why they give milk, but it still seems a sign of spring to us.

We are also expecting something else, fresh bread. We were shopping at Good To Go on Lauridsen Boulevard, and we heard the good news. The city has approved the installation of their oven. They hope to have their first batch of bread some time in the middle of May. They are also planning an outdoor oven for some time in the future. We'll fill you in when we taste our first loaf.

Two of the ladies expecting

Keywords: good to go, shopping, spring

04/16 - The Triliums Are Back

We saw our first trilliums of the season along the Elwha Trail. As usual, we spotted one because we had stopped to photograph something else, and once we had spotted one trillium, we began to look for others. Trilliums like water, and we had spotted the first one in one of the little canyons with a briskly running stream. We were walking back, sure that there were no more trilliums to be seen. After all, we had come this way and seen none. Needless to say, no sooner than we had expressed this, we spotted a trillium, and then another, and then another.

Trilliums are like that.

The first trillium we spotted

Another trillium

And another

This may look like rock, but it is an old tree stump, overgrown with moss. Parts of this trail look like something hobbits would live in.

Another evocative trail

Keywords: elwha, spring, trillium

04/15 - The Game of Seven Families We recently came across an old French card game we had bought back in the 1960s, Le Jeu des 7 Familles. This is still a popular game in France, but we really like this version. The artwork is great. We've scanned in all the cards so you can get a good look at them.



Keywords: art

04/15 - First Flowering at Lake Crescent

If we seemed fixated on blossoms this season, blame it on the long winter and slow spring we've been having. The good news from the Spruce Railroad Trail along Lake Crescent is that the flowering currant is flowering, and the first paintbrush flowers are coming out in that sunny area near the footbridge.

Flowering currant, actually flowering

The first paintbrush of the season

Lake Crescent, as ever

Keywords: flowers, lake crescent, spring, spruce railroad

04/12 - More Signs of Spring at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market

The Port Angeles Farmers' Market has been ramping up. The usual winter stalwarts are still here, but more of the seasonal folk have been returning. Quilbay wasn't selling its Quilcene oysters, but G&R was there instead. Gossip has it the Westwind asparagus are coming along, but slowly. Otherwise, all sorts of things are flowering and ready to eat. This has been a slow spring, but the season is starting to shape up.

Keywords: farmers' market, port angeles, spring, oysters

Looking south

04/12 - Another Great View From Kenmore Air

We were in Seattle. We flew Kenmore Air. We had a great view of Puget Sound.

Keywords: seattle, flying, kenmore

04/08 - Sweetmeats for Passover

We recently celebrated Passover, and given that Passover is a very old holiday, we decided to have some old fashioned sweetmeats for dessert. Sweetmeats are usually confections of dried fruit and nuts, and come in all varieties. We decided to try out a few and were very pleased with the results. They are easy to make and are much healthier than most modern candies.

We made four different treats:

  • Dates stuffed with almonds
  • Prunes stuffed with hazelnuts
  • Candied orange peel
  • Figs stuffed with candied orange peel
Don't be constrained by these recipes. It's easy to try variations using whatever dried fruits and nuts you have around.

Four sweet treats
Candied Orange Peel

Peel the outer skin off of an orange or two using a vegetable peeler. You don't want the pithy part, just the orange outer layer. Boil a pot of water and dump in the peel for about five or six minutes. In a pot, dissolve about a half cup of sugar in with a quarter cup (or less) of water. Bring it to a boil. Put in the orange peel. If you have a candy thermometer, you want to cook the peel to about 230F. If you don't have a thermometer, let it cook down until the liquid is thick syrup. Lay out a sheet of wax paper, cover it with a quarter cup of sugar. Remove the orange slices from the pot and spread them out on the sugar. Put some more sugar on top. When they are cool enough, toss them around in the sugar.

TIP: Save some of the orange sugar. It can be used to coat dried fruits for making other sweetmeats.

Figs Stuffed with Candied Orange Peel

We use calimyrna figs, not the darker mission figs, but you can probably use any kind of fig you want. Cut off the hard nib of the fig. Cut a slit in the fig. Stuff in some candied orange rind and squeeze shut. Roll the fig around in some of the extra orange sugar.

Dates Stuffed with Almonds
We use deglet noor dates, but you can use any dry date for this recipe. We use regular almonds, not blanched almonds, but you might try any almonds you want. Using the almond as a knife, slit the date and stuff the almond into it. Sprinkle a few grains of sea salt or other coarse salt onto them for a nice tang. That's it.
Prunes Stuffed with Hazelnuts

Unless you have a peculiary tough type of prune and need to use a knife, just shove a hazelnut or two into each prune. Sprinkle a few grains of sea salt or other coarse salt onto them for a nice tang.

Keywords: food, recipe

04/06 - Snowy Mountains and the Elwha Trail

The Elwha Trail out of Whiskey Bend is clear and dry, and right now it is offering nice views of the snowy peaks towering over the river. The grouse are lekking, and we can hear their deep booming from the trail. It will be a while before the high country opens for hiking, but the middle country is ready now.

Keywords: elwha, grouse

04/05 - Spring Comes to the Port Angeles Farmers' Market

To start with, Westwind Farm is offering nettles. You have to cook these carefully, but once blanched, they are delicious. We had ours in a soup with shitake mushrooms from Sunny Farms and miso from McFee's bodega. We also spotted fresh arugula and kale raab which is young kale with flowers, so spring cannot be far behind. As for the QuilBay oysters, we tried some. They were wonderful on the half shell. Finally, Johnston Farms is back for the season. It is good to see the market gearing up after a long winter.

Keywords: farms, johnston farm, spring, farmers' market, oysters, westwind farm, kale

04/03 - Morse Creek

Just a brief note on the Morse Creek trail, which is what we call the section of the Olympic Discovery Trail that runs west of Morse Creek. On our last visit:
  1. We spotted scientists at work. We thought they were fishermen, but they had awfully science-y looking gear. We asked, and they explained that they were studying the water chemistry and the like.
  2. We spotted kelpies. We thought they were otters, since we often see otters along the trail. They weren't otters; they were just clumps of kelp, but they kept us guessing for a bit.
  3. We spotted pretty ducks in Morse Creek. We're guessing that ducklings are in the offing.

Scientists in the wild



Keywords: morse creek, science, otters

04/02 - Seattle Report

We were in Seattle the other day buying some coffee ice cream for The Defense of Moscow. Russian Easter is coming soon, so we have to be prepared. In any event, we checked out Caffe Presse, which is owned by the same folks who run Le Pichet, and we had a very nice meal. Caffe Presse serves a rather hearty menu all through the day, but the food is not quite as good as the food at Le Pichet. We loved the braised ham with red cabbage, and we had a great raclette which was the perfect antidote to the cold, wet weather we have been having lately.

We also wandered around Capital Hill and came across a strange survivor, an actual used bookstore. Amazingly, it was not far from yet another used bookstore. Seattle used to be littered with these places, but the internet makes it so easy to find used books online, and rents have gone up, so most of them have vanished. We're not sure if it was that dinosaur sign in front of Twice Sold Sales or what, but we couldn't help thinking of The Lost World, Perhaps of Second Hand Bookstores.

The strange looking fountain is in Cal Anderson Park, another little gem. It is, or at least was, part of the Seattle water system. They have fountains and an aerating pond, and some gorgeous views.

It's amazing what one finds when one goes shopping for ice cream.

Cafe Presse - not quite as good as Le Pichet, but awfully good

Fountain at Cal Anderson Park

A true survivor, a used bookstore

Keywords: seattle

04/01 - Unusual Potato

At one time we had hoped our web site would never become one of those sites packed with photographs of curiosities like this unusual potato we spotted at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. Unfortunately, we have succumbed to temptation.

That sure is an unusual potato. Potato courtesy of Westwind Farms.

Keywords: farmers' market, food, science, westwind farm

March 2009April 2009 May 2009