August 2010September 2010 October 2010

09/30 - Save The Spruce Railroad Trail

We are leaving this post up here at the top of our site because we want to get the word about the proposed changes out as best we can. Scroll down a bit for our usual updates.

The Spruce Railroad Trail is in danger. The park service and the county are seriously considering a plan to eliminate the existing wilderness trail and replacing it with a twelve foot wide, sturdily paved transportation corridor relegating its traditional users - hikers, joggers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders - to a three foot wide unpaved margin. Basically, they want to turn it into an urban bike path with some accomodation for the rest of us.

If you explore the Spruce Railroad Trail now, you get a true national park experience, with ferns, salal, mosses, and sometimes salamanders lapping at your feet. You can stop by the trail side an picnic or just rest on a rock or log. The trail has a soft surface which makes for easier hiking and jogging. The proposed transportation corridor eliminates all of this. It uses most of the right of way, eliminating a lot of the vegetation and natural diversity. It will be paved, changing the scent and atmosphere, and increasing runoff into Lake Crescent.

The current trail, and one of the wider sections

The proposed "improved" version
If you want to find out more, you can check the park's web site and the section on the proposed transportation corridor.

The plan is still open for public comment, but not for much longer. They've been rather quiet about it given its impact. There was a small notice on the cluttered bulletin board at the trailhead, but little else. You can:

Keywords: lake crescent, port angeles, salamander, spruce railroad

09/29 - Deer Park

The drive up to Deer Park doesn't offer the same spectacular views as from the road to Obstruction Point, but the scenery up top is impressive. We try to get up there once a year. Since we waited until late September, some of the foliage was already changing for the fall. The mountains, as usual, were spectacular.

That's lens flare, not an alien death ray.

This is what alien death rays do to foliage.

A view from the trail

Keywords: deer park, autumn

09/28 - Labor Saving Design

We were walking around Seattle and noticed an excellent piece of lazy design. Instead of designing their own facade, these clever architects just copied the one across the street. Nice work!

It'll look just like the building across the street.

Keywords: art, seattle

09/21 - At Long Last, The Harvest

It is almost autumn, and the Port Angeles Farmers' Market is in full gear. It hasn't been the best year, but we'll let you judge from the pictures.


Johnston Farm

Johnston Farm

Nash Huber

Nash Huber

Keywords: autumn, farmers' market, johnston farm, nash huber, westwind farm

09/19 - First Steelhead of the Fall

Tuna Dan had steelhead filets at the market, so we had our first smoked steelhead of the season. That's our Kaleberg mix of coriander seeds, black peppercorns, salt and brown sugar we used as a cure.

Keywords: fish, autumn, kale

09/16 - Oxtails

We have long been big fans of Tabla, Floyd Cardoz's restaurant in New York. We're also big fans of Clark Family Beef. For the past month or two, we've been badgering the Clarks for oxtails, slowly cornering the market. Our recipe called for three oxtails, and each cow has only one. (Oxtail lovers everywhere are crying out for a breakthrough in genetic engineering.) Well, we finally counted three oxtails in our freezer, so we began to cook.

Our oxtail stew
We rounded up our ingredients, and it was quite a list:
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick (from a jar)
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 small dried red chili (sold in glassy packets at the supermarket)
  • our oxtails - about four pounds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 10 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 cups or more chopped celery
  • 2 cups or more chopped carrots
  • 1/3 cup sliced peeled ginger
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 sprigs of thyme (or about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 five inch sprigs of rosemary (or about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 bay leaves
1) The first thing we did was cut up our oxtails. Clark Family Farm has great oxtails, but they are sold in one piece. We were worried that we would need a saw, but oxtails, apparently, are mainly cartilage and cut easily with a regular knife. We cut them into four inch chunks, except down towards the narrow end where they did get a bit boney.

2) Then we got our big 39 liter Le Creuset oven ready pot. We got this on sale in Seattle and carried it home in our backpack on Kenmore Air. We heated up the olive oil in it and browned the oxtails. This meant turning them every minute or two to get all the sides.

3) We put the oxtails aside and dumped in the carrots, onions, garlic, ginger and celery and cooked them for ten or fifteen minutes. We wanted them all soft and the onions browning a bit.

4) Then we turned down the heat and poured in the wine and mixed it in making a special point of dissolving all of the browned stuff on the bottom of the pan. This is called deglazing. It has nothing to do with removing windows. (Insert Microsoft joke here.)

5) We ground up all of the spices, the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and red chili in our extra whirling blades of death coffee grinder and mixed them into the pot.

6) Next in were the tomato paste and brown sugar.

7) The oxtails. We haven't forgotten the oxtails. They've been sitting on our cutting board for a while now, oozing juices. At long last, it was their turn, into the pot with them and their ooze.

8) Clark Family Beef is great braised, that is, cooked in a liquid, so we added six cups of water to keep them wet. We wanted them almost, but not quite, covered. We also added the red wine vinegar, the thyme and rosemary sprigs, and two bay leaves. Floyd Cardoz never stints on spices. If you just read the ingredient list, you'll have no idea of how everything is going to pull together. "Hmm", you'll say, "garlic, thyme, tomato paste and rosemary make Italian, but cinnamon, cumin and red chili make Mexican, and ginger makes Chinese. I have no idea of what I am making." If you see any other author's name on the cookbook, panic, but with Floyd Cardoz you are in good hands. He grew up in Goa. They cook like this all the time. It was a Portuguese colony and they invented chicken vindaloo. Vindaloo means wine and garlic in Portuguese.

9) With all the ingredients in the pot, fire up the oven to 375F, put the lid on the pot and bring everything to a boil. Pop it in the oven for three or four hours. Check every hour or so and add water if it has dried out too much, but otherwise you're all set. It's ready when the meat is falling of the bones.

As with many Kaleberg dishes, it doesn't look like much in the picture, but it's mighty good eating.

Keywords: farmers' market, clark family, recipe, kale

09/14 - Lake Angeles

We recently climbed the 2400 and then some feet from the parking lot near the Heart of the Hills entrance station to Lake Angeles. It's always an amazing climb through a veritable forest cathedral. As one climbs, the undergrowth thins, the weather changes, then changes again, the forest changes, and then one breaks out to the great bowl of mountain cliffs around the lake. This time, it was too foggy to see the mountain cliffs, but there was an enchanted island. It's not every day that one gets to see an enchanted island.

The enchanted island

A mushroom

More mushrooms

Keywords: lake angeles

09/09 - Death of a Dinghy

We aren't sure why the remains of that one mile landmark dinghy on Dungeness Spit required such careful demolition, but here is the team at work. The dinghy was convenient, but we'll make do with the one mile sign.

The last of the dinghy

Keywords: dungeness spit

09/07 - The Salamanders Are Back

Now that the rains are back, the slugs and salamanders are back as well. We saw a couple of our local salamanders on the Lake Angeles trail, so watch your step.

They are usually better camouflaged than this.

Keywords: salamander, lake angeles

09/06 - Crespiou

This has been a terrible year for the local vegetables. Usually, we can start making crespiou some time in July, but this year we have seen a dearth of vegetables. We finally gave it a try, in September, and we managed to scrape together five layers:
  • lacinato kale with anchovies
  • baby potatoes and onions
  • green beans
  • tomatoes, garlic, basil and pine nuts
  • zucchini with garlic, oregano, thyme and dry cured black olives
We usually go for six, or even eight. (In case you are wondering, each layer is a little two egg omelet, and they all get stacked together before being sliced like a layer cake.) It was a very nice crespiou, but 2010 was not one of our great crespiou years.

Keywords: food, kale

09/05 - Second Beach Report

There was less driftwood at Second Beach than we had to clamber over last time. Presumably, it's been washing out to sea. In contrast, there is more sand on the beach. We were able to walk to the little sea cave at the south end of the beach without walking on any rocks. Our path was all sand. There was even a little ledge of sand that we could sit on while we ate our sandwiches.

There's less driftwood than last time.

Sort of dreamy landscape

Tide pools

Sea stacks

Lots more sand

Decorated with feathers ...

and little stones and shells and ...

Keywords: second beach

09/03 - New, at Least for Us, in Seattle

We were briefly in Seattle. We visited a few old haunts like Le Pichet, Trabant, the coffee house, and REI, and we discovered a few new places:
  • Melrose Market - This is a mini-mall of little food shops on Melrose Avenue between Pike and Pine. Rain Shadow Meats alone was worth the visit. There are quite a few interesting places cropping up between Pike and Pine, like Cascina Spinasse, Eliot Bay Books and now Melrose Market.
  • Belle Epicurian - This is a pastry place on Fourth Avenue between University and Seneca, and we nearly walked right by except for the wonderful scent of buttery baked goods. To be honest, we didn't try anything. Despite rumors to the contrary, we Kalebergs can only eat so much. Still, everything had the right look and scent, so we'll be back.
  • Seatown Snack Bar - This is Tom Douglas's latest addition to his empire. It has taken over the retro-1970s furniture store next to Etta's. (See our review below.)

Meat at Rain Shadow Meats

Cheese at Calf and Kid

Belle Epicurian

Seatown Snack Bar

Seatown Snack Bar - A Brief Review

We had a porchetta sandwich, which was almost as good as Salumi's. We also had an amazingly good beef short rib sandwich. They have a great potato salad made with a simple coarse Dijon mustard dressing. We also had a wonderful dish of thinly sliced octopus with turmeric cucumbers and a plate of heirloom tomatoes and avocado skordalia. We were quite impressed. Not only is the food great, and you can get a light snack or a full meal, but they serve all afternoon and into the evening.

Keywords: seattle, food, restaurants, kale

August 2010September 2010 October 2010