November 2008December 2008 January 2009

12/28 - Turkey With Three Sauces

Like Ebenezer Scrooge, we had roast turkey for Christmas. Mind you, we've had a bit of a head start on celebrating the holiday, so we know that turkey is a traditional Christmas favorite. This year we made three different Mexican sauces, a red sauce, a green sauce and a brown sauce. That last one was a chocolate sauce. The red sauce was an old favorite, but the green sauce was a Kaleberg Labs project, and the clear winner in an excellent field. For recipes and more, check out Turkey With Three Sauces.

Keywords: food, christmas, kale

12/26 - Our Cookie Tree

Every year we have two Christmas trees. One is a conventional tree, albeit nine feet tall. The other is the cookie tree which is much smaller and decorated mainly with cookies and illuminated with candles. There is nothing quite like a candle lit tree with its soft flickering light and, unfortunately, sense of danger. Unlike Christmas trees with conventional lighting, a candle lit tree requires attention, but that attention is well rewarded.

Move your mouse over our cookie tree to light the candles.

Keywords: christmas

12/24 - Visit Soviet Russia

While reading a February 1932 issue of Fortune we came across a tourist opportunity that we had somehow missed, a tour of Soviet Russia. In 1932, the Soviet Union was barely 15 years old. In hindsight, it was 20% down, with 80% yet to go. Given how many jokes have been made about tours of Soviet tractor factories, award winning collective farms and endless ranks of modern apartment blocks, the advertisement sounds like a parody of itself.

Mind you, the ice breaker tour of the Arctic and the opening of the Dnieprostroy Dam sound pretty neat. There's also ostalgia, nostalgia tourism of Soviet era relics. If people are willing to ride around Berlin in Trabants, maybe there is room for Soviet retro-tourism in our post-Soviet world.

Keywords: fortune, historical

There it is in all its glory.

12/24 - Christmas Tree Chez Kaleberg

It's high time we posted a picture of our big Christmas tree. It's a nine foot monster. We had to vultch the local nursery where all the car dealers, real estate agents and other commercial sorts with high ceilings get their trees, and we got a doozy. The stand is actually a slightly reduced version of the stand used by NASA for launching the Space Shuttle. Well, maybe it's not that big, but if everyone had a stand like ours the steel industry would be in better shape.

So, click on the small picture here and get a closer look. Oh yes, and Merry Christmas!

Keywords: christmas

12/17 - The Dungeness Dike Trail

We've been doing some shopping for our Christmas choucroute, and our errands took us down Towne Road, so we stopped to take a jog along the Dungeness Dike. There was a bit of snow, some brilliant sun, and some great scenery.

The trail was pretty clear.

One of the barns

A view of the mountains - Our apologies for the lens flare: it is unavoidable at this latitude.

Keywords: dungeness, winter

12/16 - Snowshoeing the Lake Angeles Trail

The snows are back, so we've been snowshoeing the Lake Angeles Trail. To be honest, there were only a few inches of snow on the trail. Most of the people we met on the trail were just wearing boots, but we are never could get the hang of boots, so we snowshoe. In any case, the scenery was spectacular.

The little bridge over the stream

A glimpse of blue sky

The wooden walkway

Keywords: lake angeles, winter, snowshoeing

12/15 - Smoked Steelhead

Did we mention that Tuna Dan has been selling steelhead, along with albacore tuna, at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market? We recently smoked up a fresh batch of steelhead in our kettle grill. Since we knew we were going to eat the whole thing with in a day or two, we didn't bother with the full dose of salt and smoke. We just rubbed three pounds of steelhead with a tablespoon of salt, a tablespoon of peppercorns (lightly crushed), two tablespoons of coriander seeds (lightly crushed) and four tablespoons of brown sugar and let them stand in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, we smoked them for maybe 45 minutes in a closed kettle grill.

The results? Did we mention that we've already eaten all three pounds of fish? Yeah, they were that good.

Keywords: farmers' market, port angeles

12/10 - Christmas Firetruck

Every Christmas in Port Angeles the Christmas firetruck comes around collecting money for charity. It's quite a sight, what with Santa riding on top of the truck and the truck all decorated with lights. The sirens blare while Santa and our intrepid firemen make their way up and down every street in town.

Well, the truck just went by. We made our contribution and got our candy canes. The Christmas season is here.

Keywords: christmas, port angeles

12/09 - Are We Entering a New Golden Age for Red Ink?

Watching the economic news one might think that we are entering a new golden age of red ink. This is probably not so, at least if the 1930s are a guide. There was similar speculation a mere seventy six years ago, as reported in Fortune in December 1932:

People have written asking why we haven't written about the prosperity that these times are bringing the makers of red ink, so we've looked into the matter. One maker had never thought about it but another was pretty sick and tired of answering jokes about his thriving on misfortune.

Well, there isn't any red ink prosperity. Quite the contrary. For the past three years sales have been falling off steadily and are still falling. It's the machine age, ink makers say. Companies use tabulating machines and bookkeepers haven't the time, nor the need, for ruling pretty red lines - which uses more red ink than the traditional noting of deficits. (Deficits, of course, are not the only items noted in red. Red ink is used to set off figures or identify a particular class.) Moreover, such great users of red ink, as shipping lines, who note Third Class registration in red, haven't had so many passengers in the past couple of years. And also, while there are a good many firms which have had to change to red ink for their income figures, there are - or were - also a good many firms, persistent users of red ink even in good times, which were so hard hit that they couldn't even afford to buy red ink and have gone out of business altogether.

Keywords: humor, fortune

12/07 - Our Flight From Seattle

These are some photos taken from a Kenmore Air Cessna Citation en route from Boeing Field in Seattle to Fairchild Airport in Port Angeles. As usual, the light was spectacular, and the mountains were most cooperative.


Keywords: port angeles, seattle, flying, kenmore

12/03 - Cardamom Cookies

We love cardamom. It is an underused spice, possibly because it can be tricky to spell. Good luck trying to find cardomam on Google. Our favorite use for this spice is in cardamom cookies, and we seem to have lost our old recipe, so we are using a relatively new one from Gourmet. If you want, you can go to Epicurious and look the recipe up yourself, but the one here has been tested at Kaleberg Kitchens, so we know it works.

Bake a batch of these cookies, with or without cookie molds. You might even want to make them a bit thick. These are wonderful shortbread cookies. Shortbread cookies are what Lorna Doones are supposed to be but aren't. Your whole house will be scented with butter and cardamom, and if you like the baking scent of cinnamon, you will be ecstatic with the scent of cardamom. They are perfect for Christmas baking which is when all these old fashioned spices come out of the back of the cupboard and into the oven where they belong.

They don't look like much, but they are delicious.

An open cardamom pod
Orange Cardamom Cookies (basically the recipe from Gourmet 12/07)
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp orange zest (or more)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
Smoosh the butter until it is soft and workable. Add the sugar and smoosh it to the butter. Add the egg yolk and the heavy cream and work them into the butter which will get softer. Add the orange zest, cardamom and salt and continue smooshing. Finally, add the flour and work into a slightly crumbly dough.

Divide the dough into four parts and press them into flat rectangles. Let them rest in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes or so. (We actually skip this step which is why our cookies aren't much to look at, but they taste just as good as better rested cookies.) Roll the cookie dough out to about 1/8 inch (or as much as 1/4 inch) on a floured work surface. If you have a speculatius cookie mold, you can use this, otherwise just cut the cookies into 2 inch by 3 inch squares and put them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes at 350F. (We use a convection oven and special baking sheets, so we get quicker results.) Bake until the edges are brown.

Keywords: food, recipe, kale

12/02 - Magnificent Madrona Berries

This year is a bumper year for the madrona berries. The madrona may look like a magnolia, but it is a western tree with a richly colored bark, and, in season, it may have a few red berries. This year the madronas are thick with berries. These are a few of the madronas near the Devil's Punch Bowl on the Spruce Railroad Trail.

Keywords: spruce railroad, autumn

12/01 - News Flash - Winter Has Been Postponed

We seem to have been premature with our previous post about the arrival of showshoeing season. The snows have melted, and that meant we yet another chance to climb the Switchback Trail to Klahane Ridge. There was a little snow on the trail, but it was melting rapidly, so we had an easy climb. That is, we had an easy 1,500 foot, 57 minute, hard breathing, muscle wracking ascent. Judging from the Hurricane Ridge web camera, the high country is still snow free, so consider a pre-Christmas climb this coming weekend.

Yes, there is some snow, and the high mountains are exquisite.

That's what is was like up at Klahane Ridge.

You can see the clouds below, some sneaking upland through the valley. It might be cloudy in town, but the high country is often clear.

More scenery

The autumn colors have gone beyond russet.

Keywords: autumn, high country, klahane ridge

November 2008December 2008 January 2009