January 2012February 2012 March 2012

02/28 - Out By Lake Crescent

We took a short walk along the north shore of Lake Crescent, and the big news was the first skunk cabbage of the season. We also saw a couple of downed trees, which isn't surprising given some of the recent winds.

Some snow on Storm King

Our first skunk cabbage of the year

A view to the west

A fallen tree

Another fallen tree

Keywords: lake crescent, spruce railroad

02/24 - Brussels Sprouts Pizza

Alder Wood Bistro is back up and running, and Gabriel is creating some amazing food. For example, consider this brussels sprouts pizza. It might sound a bit strange, but Clallam County is a major producer of brussels sprouts and brussels sprouts seeds, so these are one of our amazingly good local variants. Then, they've been caramelized, cooked until they are browned and tender along with some bacon, onions and little mushrooms. It's a wonderful dish. We liked it so much, we ate one large pizza at the restaurant and took one with us to go.

Brussels sprouts: Wood fired pizza will never be the same.

Keywords: alder wood bistro

02/18 - The Ballard Locks in Winter

We recently took a lightning trip into Seattle, and made our way to the Ballard Locks in hopes of seeing our favorite winter garden. We were a bit early for the richly scented winter daphne, but there were some magnificent witch hazel trees and a fair bit of industrial action. It was like something out of a children's book with the locks cycling, the diggers on the dredging barge hauling up rocks and the railroad bridge opening between mile long trains.

Nature may have been a bit disappointing. The daphnes weren't in bloom. The fish ladder was fishless, and the garden winter bare, but sheer industry made up for it nicely.

The dredger removing this year's crop of fresh rocks

A witch hazel tree in bloom

A lone barge and tug passing through the locks

The dredger and the railroad bridge in action

A kingfisher cooperatively sitting on a cable

Keywords: seattle, winter

02/10 - Butter Clams

A friend of ours dropped by with a bucket of butter clams. We had never had these before, so we followed his recipe and sliced open each clam, then placed them open side down in a hot, buttery pan and weighted them down with a cast iron skillet. Then we added the usual garlic, salt and pepper. The results were magnificent.

Clams in a bucket

An open clam

More open clams

Ready to cook

Just add mass and gravity

And you get great clam strips

A pile of clams on the plate

Keywords: recipe

02/08 - Whiskey Bend Road Has Reopened, Kalebergs Return

Whiskey Bend Road was closed for well over a year. With all the dam removal work going on, we were afraid that the park service would forget about it, but it finally reopened, and we finally went back for a visit. The road is definitely smoother than it was, though this is unlikely to last. There are also many signs of repair, including sections that have been almost completely rebuilt and others which are again passable, but are narrower. The dam access is closed off by a chain link fence, but the trail to Lake Mills and the other trails at Whiskey Bend are all open and in good shape.

We had forgotten what a pleasant hike it is from the parking lot to Michael's Ranch. We headed up a short way towards Lilian Camp, but were are a bit out of shape. The sun filtered through the trees, and this part of the river, above Lake Mills, hasn't been affected by the dam work. We could go on describing things, but, as usual in this blog, it is better to let the pictures do the talking.

Sunlight and forest

Translucent red berries

Snow covered peaks

The river below

More river

Our favorite overlook

Some of the trail, near the stream

Some of the little waterfalls at the stream

Green ferns

A tree down on the trail

Another snow covered peak

Keywords: elwha, trails, waterfall

02/04 - Lemon Curd Coconut Cake

This is basically a classical coconut layer cake with boiled icing and coconut flakes, but with a rich center of home made lemon curd. We used Edna Lewis's cake recipe and the lemon curd recipe from Great British Cooking.

The finished cake

Sliced open so you can see the lemon curd inside

Lemon Curd

  • 3 large lemons
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 lightly beaten egg yolks (save the whites for the boiled icing)
  1. Set up a double boiler.
  2. Grate the rinds off all three lemons and put the peel in the double boiler.
  3. Squeeze all three lemons and put the juice in the double boiler.
  4. Add the butter and sugar to the double boiler. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts.
  5. Stir in the three lightly beaten egg yolks.
  6. Stir and stir and stir while the mixture slowly cooks. It took us nearly 20 minutes, but eventually the curd darkened and thickened. We like our lemon curd rich and thick.

Keywords: recipe

January 2012February 2012 March 2012