September 2009October 2009 November 2009

10/31 - Something To Grouse About

Autumn is the time for game birds. For those of us who cannot be trusted with firearms, that means D'Artagnan, the specialty food provider founded by Arianne Daugin, the daughter of one of France's great chefs. This recipe calls for four grouses, or perhaps four grice, if that is what are available at your market. It also calls for a head or two of savoy cabbage, twelve rashers of the best, smokey bacon you can get, a tart apple, at half a stick of butter, dried thyme and/or marjoram, pepper and salt.

Grouses, or perhaps grice

Shredded savoy cabbage
Clean the grouses, or grice. Save any good insaginnies. Clean the cabbage and save eight of the largest leaves for wrapping the grouses. Shred the rest of the cabbage using the slicing blade of a food processor. Cut up four rashers of bacon into 1/2" bits. Toss the shredded cabbage and bacon with a teaspoon or two of thyme, marjoram or both, and some salt and pepper. If there were any hearts or crops, chop them up and toss them in as well.

Cut up the apple into eight pieces. Put a piece of apple, a chunk of butter and as much of the cabbage mix as you can into each grouse. Put the remaining cabbage mix into a flat roasting pan. Put each grouse, breast side up, on a cabbage leaf. Drape two rashers of bacon over it and cover it with another cabbage leaf.

All ready to bake, except for the top cabbage leaves

Grice, or perhaps grouses, in the cabbage patch
Add perhaps a quarter inch of water to the baking pan and bake for about 45 minutes at 325F. Check the birds. They should be cooked through and getting tender. We raised the temperature to 350F at this point and gave them another 15 minutes. A lot depends on your oven.

When the birds are basically cooked, remove the upper cabbage leaves. Slide the bacon down to the sides of each bird so it doesn't burn. Raise the oven temperature to 450F and give the grice another 10 or 15 minutes. This should brown the birds nicely. They can be served straight from the oven along with the cabbage.

Ready to eat

Keywords: autumn, birds, grouse, recipe

10/30 - View From The Bluffs

We took a short stroll at the Dungeness Bluffs, from the main parking lot to the big field near the entrance. The bluffs look much the same, which means that they are still crumbling into the strait. At points you can see the overhang. Here and there the trail has been "adjusted". They try to keep the safety fence up to date, but the bluffs give them a run for the money.

The bluffs offer a great view of the waves below, and we couldn't help noticing that the waves meet the beach with a scalloped front. It is much more noticeable from up on the bluffs than when one is down on the beach. The shape is persistent, from wave to wave, and is probably reinforced by the shape of the beach and the land underwater. From the bluffs, you can't see the subtle shaping that guides the waves, but you can't miss its effect.

You can really see the scalloping as the waves recede.

The trail moves now and then as the bluffs collapse.

The waves come in.

Keywords: dungeness, science

A branch of witch hazel

10/30 - Just In Time For Halloween

Our witch hazel has bloomed, just in time for Halloween.


10/27 - Moroccan Lamb Chez Kaleberg

We recently ordered some Romney Lamb from Heritage Foods, so we steamed up the shoulder and the shanks Moroccan style. This is one of our favorite lamb recipes from Paula Wolfert's Moroccan cookbook . You can see the Moroccan style steamer to the right. The lamb was a bit bulky for the steaming container.

It's a pretty simple dish if you have some kind of steamer handy, and some good lamb. Put some water, and, if you have them, some dried chick peas, in the lower part of the steamer and set it to boil.

Make a bed of parsley in the upper part of the steamer and put in a peeled onion or two. Take a half stick of butter, 1/2 tsp of saffron, a few pinches of salt and pepper and smush them together. Rub the lamb with the butter mixture and add it to the upper part of the steamer on the bed of parsley.

Our steamer, in action

Steamed lamb shanks and lamb, Moroccan style
Put the steamer together and let the lamb steam for at least an hour and a half. (It may need a bit longer, but that's the usual cooking time.) Now and then check to make sure there is enough water in the lower part of the steamer. This is especially important if you added dried chick peas as they absorb a lot of liquid.

You can see the steamed lamb to the left. The meat should be so tender it is falling off the bone. The dried chick peas should be nicely cooked and swimming in delicious lamb soup.

Serve the lamb with a mixture of ground cumin and good salt. Break out the sea salt if you have it. It's also great with spicy horseradish.

Keywords: kale

10/25 - Gray Skies, Silver Water

We tend to remember how Lake Crescent looks on a sunny day. There is nothing quite like the blue of that water, but autumn means more cloudy days, and that means the lake turns silver and the mountains are shrouded with clouds. It is hard to capture silver water on film, but sometimes, if the light is just right and you are in just the right place, you can almost get close.

Keywords: autumn, lake crescent

10/23 - The Seattle Museum of Flight

We often fly Kenmore Air from Port Angeles to Boeing Field, but we rarely stick around the field for long. However on our latest trip our friends insisted that we head to the other side of the runway and see The Museum of Flight.

First, we stopped by the Fisherman's Terminal in Seattle and grabbed some lunch. We hadn't expected much. After all, this is supposed to be a tourist trap, so we were pleasantly surprised. The fish was fresh, as we had expected, but it and the side dishes were also well prepared. If nothing else, they used real butter, and that can make a lot of difference.

Then, we made our way the museum. It was much bigger than our friends had remembered with a veritable plethora of airplanes. We spent some time in the space exhibit. The full scale prototype module from the space station was larger than we had expected. Maybe there really is a space station orbiting up there, even if it doesn't have a cocktail lounge a la 2001.

A lot of our favorite planes were there including the Gossamer Albatross, the first man powered ultralight to cross the English Channel, the SR-71, always a crowd pleaser, an old Alaska Air DC-3, and, of course, the war planes from the first and second world wars. We didn't take too many pictures. If nothing else, the place was so chock full of aircraft it was hard to find a place to stand for a good shot.

We even crossed the road for a peek inside an old Concorde. Wow, it was cramped inside. Give us a full length, fold down bed seat, and we'll be happy even if it takes an extra hour or two to get there. We didn't get to see the old Boeing red barn and a whole lot of other things. All told, we were impressed, and we plan to come back.

The Museum of Flight

The Gossamer Albatross - one of the first successful man powered flying machines

From World War I

From World War II

High technology - The SR-71

Low technology

Keywords: seattle, art, science, kenmore, alaska

10/21 - Hurricane Hill In Gold

Obstruction Point Road is closed, as is Deer Park. We were up at Hurricane Hill and had the mountain nearly to ourselves for a bit. Even the marmots and grouse seem to have vanished for the year. The grasses have turned golden, and there are splashes of brilliant color set off by the somber greens of the forest. Was it really 97 degrees and so very green up here back in July?

Corn lily stalks

The golden fields

Fields and mountains - still on the top of the world

One of the views

The clouds like the valleys.

Some color, but fading already

Maybe we'll do this on our mantel for Christmas.

Keywords: hurricane hill, marmots, autumn, grouse

10/15 - Some Autumn Color at Butchart Gardens

We visited Butchart Gardens in Victoria again. We didn't go for the flowers. That's for the spring and summer. We went for the fall foliage. We figured that the local color in the Port Angeles area was so impressive this year that the leaves at Butchart Gardens would be something special. We were not disappointed. While it is possible that the autumn leaf color at Butchart Gardens is always spectacular thanks to the miracles of modern horticulture, we had nothing to complain about this year.

Japan, like New England, is noted for its fall foliage, so we were not surprised by the Japanese Garden with its brilliant maples, but it was the Sunken Garden that really showed off the reds and oranges of autumn. Yes, the season of flowers is passing, but there is much to enjoy this time of year.

Some dahlias

Changes in the Japanese Garden

More from the Japanese Garden

Even more from the Japanese Garden

Get the idea?

The Sunken Garden

More from the Sunken Garden

Even more from the Sunken Garden

There's no need for a caption here.

Keywords: autumn, victoria

10/12 - Some Autumn Color on the Spruce Railroad Trail

The North Olympic Peninsula is not noted for its spectacular autumn colors, but this year, the trees, notably the maples, are doing their bit. We were on the Spruce Railroad Trail the other day and saw a lot of maples turning bright yellow. It's probably the cold nights. It also might be the brilliant blue of the lake's water. In fact, the maples all over the north peninsula are quite impressive this year.

Some maple color

The blue water

More color, more water

One of the spooky maples getting ready for Halloween

Bright red

Keywords: autumn, spruce railroad, lake crescent

10/09 - First Snow at Klahane Ridge

Winter has been creeping in for a while now. We ran into the first snow of the year on Klahane Ridge. It was a mere dusting, but it was a sign of the changing seasons. The air was brisk, and the views were as spectacular as ever. The flowers of the hanging gardens were dried to silver and gold. The summers are short in the high country, so we must make the most of these trails in their season.

Snow at the junction

The trail and silver

A view of Mount Olympus

Snow down towards Heather Park

Snow on the slopes

Snow on the trail

The fingers

Dried flowers

More hanging gardens

More dried flowers

Last paintbrush

Keywords: klahane ridge, winter

10/05 - Webcam Moon

It gets awfully dark up in the mountains so the Hurricane Ridge webcam is pretty much black all night, except now and then. For example, when the moon broke through the clouds early in the morning on the 29th of September.

The moon over the mountains

Keywords: hurricane ridge

10/04 - The Space Needle Again

Yet another photo of the Space Needle in Seattle. Recession or no recession, there is still a lot of construction going on in town.

Keywords: seattle

10/03 - View From The West Seattle Water Taxi

We took the Water Taxi from Pier 55 out to West Seattle on our last trip into town, and here is a panorama of the wonderful view of the harbor. We took advantage of the convenient shuttles and made our way up to The Swinery. The Swinery actually sells a lot more than pork, including some great looking beef and lamb. We'll have to get back, and we'll have to explore West Seattle some more.

Click the image for a closer look

Keywords: seattle

September 2009October 2009 November 2009