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04/22/13 - Winter Crespeou

A crespeou is a multi-layered omelet with each layer being a small, two egg omelet, with suitable accompaniments, in its own right. We usually associate this dish with the late summer or early autumn when we can find all sorts of fresh vegetables, but last year was disappointing, and this winter has dragged on long enough, so we were craving one. So, we made a winter crespeou using what ingredients we could find in all too early spring.

Our crespeou had five layers, from bottom up:

  1. some baby potatoes, sauteed in olive oil until tender.
  2. some dandelion greens and parsley from our garden, sauteed in olive oil with dry cured black olives
  3. diced roasted red pepper with pine nuts
  4. diced raddicio, sauteed in olive oil, with anchovies
  5. diced tomatoes with mint This dish takes some preparation, slicing, roasting and dicing the various ingredients, but it doesn't require much of each. We cooked each layer separately in a crepe pan, and then stacked them to make a lovely five layer crespeou. Knock wood, that will hold us until late summer, or maybe not.

The finished crespeou

Some of our ingredients

The potato layer

Greens from our garden, such as they are

The greens layer of our crespeou

Roasted red pepper and pine nuts

and another layer

Radiccio in the pan

and in a crespeou layer

We added the diced tomato raw, so it was only lightly cooked.

The cross sectional view

Keywords: food, recipes

03/31/13 - Late Season Duck Confit

Duck confit is usually a fall or winter dish Chez Kaleberg, but this winter we kept delaying things. Preserving four ducks in their own fat is a bit of a production. We skipped January after all the excitement and cooking of the Christmas season back in December. Then we skipped February due to miserable colds. Then came March and the start of spring. We almost never make a duck confit in the spring or summer, but this year we let the equinox slip by without getting our ducks in a row. Still, when it comes to duck confit, it's better late than never, so we ordered our ducks and cut them up and rendered the fat, and you can see the results, still warm from the oven to the right. Let's face it. It's never too late for duck confit.

Keywords: ducks, spring, food, kale

03/08/13 - Memelas of March

We made up a batch of memelas. These are basically little Mexican pizzas. We made ours from scratch, so we make our own corn chips from masa harina, water and salt and fry them in a hot pan. Then we made the tomato sauce and topped the chips with sauce and queso fresco. Unlike a pizza which is baked in the oven, we just used the broiler to melt the cheese.

Memelas are little Mexican pizzas

The Corn Chips

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Just mix everything together until it forms a nice dough. You do have to work it a little, but you don't have to knead it as you would pizza dough.

Heat up a frying pan (or even better, a cast iron skillet). Wait until the pan is nice and hot before cooking the chips or they'll stick.

Cut the blob of dough into 16 roughly equal pieces. Press each piece of dough in a tortilla press using wax paper or parchment to keep it from sticking. Cook three or four chips at a time, until each side is golden brown. This takes us about 2 minutes per side, but keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

The Sauce

  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, 2 serrano peppers or 2 tbsp nacho sliced jalapenos
  • 1 small onion, or 1/2 a larger one, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped
Cut the tomatoes in half and cut out their cores. Put them skin side up on a pizza tray and put them close to a hot broiler until the skins char.

Toss the tomato skins and put the tomatoes, the jalapenos, the onion and salt in a food processor and puree everything.

Heat up a pan and add the olive oil. When it is very hot, add the puree slowly, a bit at a time so that the sauce is boiling furiously. Cook the sauce, stiring now and then, until it thickens, for maybe 3-5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the coriander and stir it in so it cooks.


Lay out the chips on a pizza tray and put some of the sauce on each. Crumble the queso fresco and put some of the cheese on each. It's just like making pizza now.

Put the tray under a broiler (or in a hot oven) to melt the cheese.

Serve as they are, or you can add jalapenos or fresh chopped sweet onion or ....


Keywords: recipes, food

10/29/12 - Halloween Spirit

We had a little gathering of ghouls to get into the Halloween spirit. Being Kalebergs, this meant some serious cooking in the Kaleberg Kitchen.

We started with a Spider Cake. That's an orange cake with chocolate fudge cockaigne filling and a thick layer of orange icing on top. We drew a spider in her web on top using chocolate frosting.

Then we made little buffalo burger devils. Those are little buffalo burgers on Parker House rolls with Kaleberg ketchup, pickles and onion. The devil horns were cut from a red pepper.

No Halloween is complete without disembodied eyeballs. It's a cliche, but an important one, so we hollowed out some of the last tomatoes of the season and filled them with a mixture of cut up iceberg lettuce, bacon crumble, chopped up tomato and mayonaisse. It's sort of an inside out BLT without the toast.

Finally, we made sausage mummies. You can see one of them being wrapped below. We used chorizo and andouille and strips of puff pastry. They're really easy to make, and as we know from excavations of ancient Egyptian burial sites, they're a dish with a long tradition.

A Spider Cake - orange cake, chocolate fudge filling, orange icing and a chocolate spider in its web

Devil burgers

No Halloween is complete without disembodied eyeballs.

Ancient Egyptian burial customs

Sausage mummies

Keywords: halloween, food, kale

10/19/12 - Grilled Salmon

We often buy from Heritage Foods, especially their red wattle pork and red bourbon turkeys. Now and then they slip in a freebie. This time it was a filet of salmon, sort of coals to Newcastle. We grilled it simply. It was delicious, though it did come to us the long way around.

A well traveled fish

Keywords: food

07/24/12 - Home Made Tofu

We first had artisanal bean curd in Honolulu. It was absolutely delicious, far better than any tofu we had bought in a store. We've been trying to locate some in Port Angeles or the Seattle area with no success, so we decided to make our own. It's not particularly hard, but it is a bit messy. We used about a pound of dried soy beans and three quarts of water. That meant three messy rounds in the food processor making up the mixture, then straining it through cheese cloth. That got us a fair bit of raw soy milk.

We brought the soy milk to a boil, let it cool to 190 degrees, then added two teaspoons of nigari. Nigari is a mineral salt, related to epsom salts. Within a few minutes, the soy milk had started to curdle and, maybe ten minutes later, we had big, cloudy curds floating in soy milk whey. We strained out the curds in a cheese cloth and pressed out the excess liquid using a little tofu press. Thanks to the miracle of high speed photography, you can see the final block of tofu in the photo before we Kalebergs got to it.

It doesn't look like much, but it tasted great.

Keywords: food, kale

07/10/12 - First Salmon

Our friends who go fishing have been catching fish, and, even more impressive, getting to keep them. They recently had a bumper crop of fish, or whatever fishermen call it when they manage to catch their limit in the first 30 minutes on the water. Since our friends are generous with their bounty, that meant we had our first locally caught salmon of the year. Even better, we got the salmon roe.

An awful lot of fishermen simply discard the roe, but salmon roe, when cooked, tastes an awful lot like shad roe. We're originally from the east coast, so we always looked forward to spring and the shad runs. Now, we look forward to the salmon season. We cook the salmon roe just the way we'd cook shad roe, in a bit of butter, with capers, with onions, with eggs. It makes a great breakfast omelet, especially for the salmon season.

Representative fish and fish wrap - not one of the actual fish

This season's salmon

This season's roe

Keywords: salmon, food

03/19/12 - Munchings and Crunchings

We haven't been doing all that much, but we have been eating well. On the right is a member of the rapidly vanishing species of Parker House buffalo burgers. That's a Parker House roll, a southern specialty made with butter, lard and milk, named for a downtown Boston hotel. Inside, is a good, solid buffalo burger, melted New Moon cheese, kosher dill pickle slices, walla walla sweet onion, some out of season tomato and a healthy dollop of our home brew Kaleberg Ketchup.

The last of its kind

Chicken shishkabob without the shish, or is it without the kabob?
On the left is one of our favorite dishes, grilled chunks of chicken thigh marinated in lemon, olive oil, oregano, garlic and sumac. Sumac is a tart eastern Mediterranean spice and brings out the best in the lemon. We usually marinate the meat overnight, then grill it in one of those little wire baskets. In keeping with the theme, we also grill up some onions and red peppers, so we have all the ingredients of a lovely chicken kabob without having to put everything on skewers.

Keywords: food, kale

01/28/12 - Cracked Pot

We generally considered our cast iron Le Creuset pot to be indestructible. After all, it was made of solid metal and a fair bit of it to judge by its weight. We were proven wrong the other day when it suddenly cracked while reheating a batch of beef bourguignon. There was a loud bang and a hiss, and there it was, a crack running all the way down the side. Our beef bourguignon was unharmed.

Our cracked pot

Keywords: food

12/10/11 - Cassoulet in Progress

Cassoulet is not one of those dishes you can just throw together from stuff you have lying around the house. It takes a bit of planning and preparation. We made our duck confit last month, and it's been ripening in its jar. We ordered our pig skin and sausages from The Swinery a while back and had everything shipped for our party week.

Then, our cassoulet took over our kitchen. We brought out our stained, wrinkled cookbook and double checked the post it note warning us "Do not TRIPLE this recipe." Some years back we had tripled the recipe and had so much cassoulet we couldn't store it in the refrigerator and had to put an overflow pot of it out in the car. Luckily it was a cold New England night.

As you can see in the photos, making a cassoulet is quite a process, but then again, cassoulet is quite a dish.

The pig skin underbelly

The ragout in progress

Every pot in the house

Andouille in the mesoderm


Keywords: christmas, food

09/13/11 - Wood Fired Pizza

For a while they were going to build some luxury condos on this lot. They even dug a deep hole for the foundation, but now it's back to a parking lot and wood fired pizza. We didn't actually try their pizza, but they've got the wood and flames all right. If nothing else, it shows imagination in the face of economic collapse.

You can see the flames

Keywords: seattle, food

09/07/11 - Pickled Tomatoes

Our friend Julia dropped by a few days ago to show us how to pickle tomatoes. She makes the most amazing pickled red tomatoes from an old Russian family recipe. For our part, we bought a 20lb box of Sunny Farms Roma tomatoes and dithered around ineffectually. Julia provided the cherry leaves, currant leaves and the jars, as we hadn't even bought the right kind of jars.

The recipe is pretty simple. There is the pickling liquor made by boiling 5 liters (or quarts) of hot water, 8 tablespoons of kosher salt, 2 cups of white sugar and 2 cups of white vinegar. For each one to two quart jar add 4-5 cherry tree leaves, 2-3 currant bush leaves, 2-3 tablespoon chunks of fresh horseradish root, 1-2 horseradish leaves, 5-6 cloves of garlic, 1 dill flower "umbrella", 10 black peppercorns, 4-5 whole allspice berries, and 2-3 cloves. All right, maybe it's not that simple.

Bring a big pot of water to boiling. Stuff as many tomatoes as you can into each jar. Feel free to squeeze them a bit, but don't reduce them to a pulp. Then, pour boiling water into each jar to sterilize the tomatoes and the pickling spices. Then, using a strainer to catch anything that tries to escape, drain each jar and top it off with the hot pickling mixture. Be careful to shake the jar around a bit to get out any air bubbles. Quickly screw on the lid and flip the jar over.

Store all the jars, upside down, wrapped in a heavy blanket. They'll stay hot for at least two days, cooking and ripening all the time.

That's the recipe on the left, in Russian. We're lucky we had a translator.

Currant leaves

Cherry tree leaves

Garlic cloves and horseradish root cut into roughly tablespoon sized chunks

Lots of Roma tomatoes

We had to run around to find the fresh dill with flowers. Albertson's was out, but Safeway had them.

Black peppercorns, allspice berries and whole cloves - Spices are so pretty.

The jars filling with leaves, herbs and spices

Boiling hot water to sterilize each jar

Full of pickling liquor, ready to seal

Put them to bed

Keywords: food, recipe

07/03/11 - Orange Cardamom Cookies

Not everyone likes the taste of cardamom, but it's a wonderful spice, and not just for Christmas. We've been making orange cardamom cookies for a while now. They're really just shortbread cookies, but the cardamom gets an extra kick from the grated orange peel.

We like to use freshly ground cardamom, and often use a bit more than the 1 1/2 tsp recommended. It's great stuff. Our recipe goes something like this:


  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Work the butter until it is soft. Then work in the sugar.
  2. When the mixture is creamy and a bit fluffy, work in the cream and egg yolk.
  3. Add the flour, orange zest, cardamom and salt. (Don't leave out the salt.) WOrk the mixture into a grainy dough.
  4. Make the dough into four "pancakes", rolling them to about 1/4". Wrap them in plastic and let them rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  5. Roll the pancakes out to about 1/8" thickness and either cut them into cookies with a knife or use cookie cutters.
  6. Bake on parchment covered cookie sheets at 350F for about 8-10 minutes.

Keywords: food, recipe

06/02/11 - Salmon BLT

We first had this sandwich in San Francisco at the old Park Hyatt, now a Le Meridien. It was on their room service menu, available 24 hours a day, and it was perfect for our departure day. We'd order a few of them with a pot of coffee for breakfast, eat one in the room before starting out, another at the airport and finish up on the plane home. They were really good, though they were probably made with farmed salmon.

Now, of course, we can get wonderful wild salmon, and Pane d'Amore has great local bread, so when we started craving a salmon BLT, we didn't try to figure out how to get back to San Francisco; we just made a couple. That's a simply roasted salmon filet in the middle, with just salt and pepper, but there is also some good Hempler's bacon from Sunny Farms, slices of tomato, a handful of lettuce and store bought mayonaise.

They were better than ever, thanks to our local salmon. Now we don't have to go to San Francisco.

Even better than the one at the Park Hyatt.

Keywords: food, salmon

05/27/11 - St. Germain and Champagne

Ages ago, we used to have the wonderful house cocktail at Wallse. It was an elderberry champagne cocktail and quite good. It's hard to describe the flavor. It's sweet, but there is a strong flowery note.

In any event, we recently came across of a bottle of St. Germain. That's the elderberry flower liqueur that they added to the champagne. We tried it at home, and it brought back the memories. Unlike our dubious encounter with Creme de Violette, an overly sweet and rather cloying violet flavored liqueur in the early 80s, St. Germain is a winner.

Keywords: food

04/21/11 - Mangosteens

They were selling mangosteens at the local Albertson's. One always hears about mangosteens in books and newspaper articles, but, unlike mangoes which are on sale everywhere, mangosteens are harder to find. Curious, we bought a few. They were hard and husky. Our first thought was that they had dried out and wouldn't be edible. We set to work. It took a bit of doing to crack them open, but we were in luck. The fruit was still moist, and it was delicious. It's hard to describe the flavor. It was nothing like a mango. It was more of a citrus flavor, but not exactly. They are definitely delicious, so we'll be keeping our eyes open if another batch comes in.

Keywords: food

04/14/11 - Willapa White Sheep's Milk Cheese

The folks at the Renaissance day spa sell local cheese at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. We recently tried their Willapa White, a creamy sheeps' milk cheese, and we really liked it. It's a bit like a brin d'amour, but without the rosemary rind. Obviously, we could cover one of these cheeses with dried rosemary, but why bother. It's so good just as it is.

Keywords: farmers' market, food

04/12/11 - Halibut Pot Pie With Fennel

This is sort of a shepherd's pie made with halibut, fennel and shallots. This is based on a recipe from Bon Appetit, but we've played with it a bit, and filled in some blanks.


  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless halibut filets
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 fairly large heads of fennel or more smaller ones
  • 1 cup peeled and sliced shallots
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 lb spinach leaves (or more if you really like spinach)
  • 1 - 2 lbs potatoes, suitable for mashing (e.g. not hard red ones)


1) Boil the potatoes in a pot of water until they are tender. When they are ready, drain, mash in a big bowl adding salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. You can go ahead with the other steps while the potatoes are cooking.

2) Cut off the fennel tops and slice the bulbs into 1/4" (roughly) slices. Slice the shallots, if you haven't already.

3) Melt the butter and saute the fennel and shallots until they start turning a bit golden. This caramelizing gives them some sweetness. (It usually takes us 10-15 minutes, but your stove may vary.)

4) Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper. Toss and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.

5) Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. While you stir, the mixture should thicken.

6) Cut the fish into 2 inch squares. If the spinach is in big, broad leaves, you might want to cut them up a bit, but it doesn't really matter. Add the fish and spinach. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

7) Preheat the broiler. Put the fish, fennel and shallot mixture into an oven proof baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes across the top.

8) When the broiler is ready, put the baking dish on an upper shelf in the oven and let bake until the potatoes start to turn golden brown, usually about 10 minute, though this will vary with your oven and your potatoes.

Keywords: food, recipe

Ready to cook

04/10/11 - Skate Wings

They had skate wings at Sunny Farms. They had just been caught the day before. We love skate wings, but rarely get to have them. We dredged ours lightly in flour then cooked them up with butter and capers. It's a simple dish, but it captures the richness and real flavor of the skate. If you like black cod, you will probably like skate. The only downside is the numerous gelatinous bones. Unless you are a big fan of duck's feet or cock's combs, you'll probably want to remove the bones carefully. (They are a good source of calcium though.)

Keywords: food

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