January 2008February 2008 March 2008

02/29 - Dungeness Spit Is For The Birds

We've been getting some good tides at Dungeness Spit, so we decided to do a bit of exploring. The tide was low and there was a lot of sand on the beach, so it was easy going. The view of the mountains was stupendous as you can see in the picture to the right.

There were two bald eagles, maybe a dozen yards apart, perched on the driftwood on the high ground of the spit. The older eagle took off shortly after we started taking pictures, but the young eagle stood his or her ground.

The mature eagle

The kid
The sea was full of ducks and duck like birds including mergansers, loons, eiders, and cormorants. They're a bit hard to photograph since they tend to dive when they hear your camera focus. Still, they're fun to watch.

We also ran into this little fellow on the right. We aren't sure whether this is pheasant season or not, but this guy was hiding out in the refuge.

Another kind of bird

Keywords: birds, dungeness, dungeness spit, tides, eagle

02/24 - Sabor de Mexico - A Mexican Solution

We've only done a preliminary tasting, but we liked what we tried at Sabor de Mexico. There is lots of bad Mexican food around, but Sabor de Mexico comes through nicely. Check out our review.

Keywords: restaurants, port angeles

02/22 - Shore Road Nursery Has Closed

We have sad news. Shore Road Nursery has closed. Dave Allen had been running it for years, specializing in native plants. It was a wonderful place, and full of surprises, much like the North Olympic Peninsula itself.

The good news is that Dave Allen is now working for Olympic National Park, specializing in badly needed restoration work. Our local national park is a treasure. We're glad that its future is in such good hands.

In better times than these

Keywords: flowers, port angeles

02/18 - Home Made Penne For Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is almost the canonical comfort food. Unfortunately, too many people swear by some packaged version with that wretched cheese style food product and synthetic PVC macaroni. We like macaroni and cheese as much as anyone, but our Domaine Cliche version is something else again.

For starters, we make our own macaroni, or rather, penne, using our hand cranked tube pasta extrusion machine. We stuff the pasta dough in the top, turn the crank and every inch or two cut off four nicely formed penne. The pasta dough is basically flour, eggs, salt and water, and we tend to make the dough a touch damp so it is a bit softer.

Penne in waiting

Old reliable, our tube pasta extruder
The next step is making a bechamel sauce. That's just a half a stick of butter, a few tablespoons of flour and a cup of milk or cream depending on how rich you want it. We like it rich, so we use Dungeness Valley Creamery cream to thicken our milk. Melt the butter, stir in the flour, whisk in the milk. We boil the penne, drain them, then dump them in the bechamel.

So, where is the cheese? We put the cheese on the top. Our favorite is a good aged gruyere, but some folks use Swiss cheese instead. We spread a cup or so of grated gruyere on top and pop the whole dish into the broiler. (It helps if you make the bechamel in a sauce pan that can go in the oven). When the cheese is molten, the dish is ready. Comfort is at hand.

Keywords: food

02/09 - Eggs At The Market

The winter is the slowest time of the year for hens, so it is sometimes hard to get farm fresh eggs. The good news is that Westwind Farm has been selling their eggs through the season, and they've been excellent. The other good news is that Dry Creek Farm is back with a new flock of chickens, so there are now two stands selling eggs at the market. Don't be surprised if some of them are double yolkers. Young hens often lay eggs with two yolks in them.

The final good news is that Dry Creek Farm is selling stewing hens again. For more on the glories of stewing hens and our coq au vin recipe, see our Stewing Hen Page. You can call Harley and arrange to pick up a frozen bird or two at 360 457 2943. These might be tough old birds, but they are delicious stewed.

Keywords: birds, dry creek farm, winter, farmers' market, westwind farm, recipe

Like an alien sculpture they lurk and bubble

02/07 - Marrow Bones

We recently gave in to temptation and enjoyed a round of marrow bones. They were marked "dog bones" at Sunny Farms. Not being big fans of dog meat, we checked with the butcher. Indeed they were cow meat bones being sold to dog owners to feed to their dogs, but there was no reason to let the dogs have all the fun.

Marrow bones are more or less inedible, unless perhaps you are a dog with very strong jaws. The marrow inside, however, is delicious. The taste is somewhere between beef and butter, or perhaps between butter and beef, or perhaps beefy butter. In any event, it is very rich. This is not diet food.

Marrow bones are easy to make. Just put them in a pyrex pan with some white wine, enough to fill the pan to a quarter inch or so. Bake them at 450F for about 45 minutes. The marrow will be oozing and bubbling. You can check it with a meat thermometer if you like, but we'll go with oozing and bubbling. When in doubt, let it cook a bit longer. You don't want to eat raw marrow.

While the marrow roasts, toast up some good bread in the oven. We had some pain levain which was great. Chop up some garlic and rub it on the toast. Sprinkle lightly with a little fleur de sel, or other good coarse salt. (Yes, this garlic toast is pretty good on its own, but it's even better with marrow). When the marrow is ready, poke it out with a fork, a spoon, a chopstick, a crochet hook, or whatever you have handy. Professionals may use a marrow spoon, but we Kalebergs are strictly amateurs. Cover the toast with a nice layer of molten marrow and take a bite. Smile.

Keywords: food, kale

02/02 - UPS Waterfall Park In Seattle

We are fond of urban oases. They are the mark of a real city. Last November we noted the Seattle Art Museum exhibit of a nurse log on life support. This month, we noticed UPS's Waterfall Park near Pioneer Square. It's on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Main Street, and if you are looking in the wrong direction as you walk by the gate you might miss it. Walk through the gate and you enter another little world of water and moisture and greenery. OK, Seattle has water and moisture, but the park is its own little world.

Apparently, this was the site of the first UPS office, back when they were called American Messenger Service. The park was built in 1977 by one of the founders of UPS. For a tiny bit more info, and perhaps a picture or two, try here or here.

An urban oasis - waterfall park

Keywords: seattle, kale, waterfall

January 2008February 2008 March 2008