December 22, 2007

November 05, 2007


Just a few shots of pumpkin carving. We had a really good time. Folks carved or didn't carve. But everyone ate, drank and was merry. I've left out most of the shots because I'm not sure who does and does not want to be on the Internet. But this will give you and overall idea of the event. It was a success.


September 19, 2007


A few shots of a recent trip to Yakima for tomatoes and winter squash. Scored on the squash at Jones Farms again - $.40/lb. At Dagdagan Farm & Produce we gpt romas for $8 a box! The boxes easily were 20-25 lbs. All day Monday we canned tomatoes - 28 qts.


September 10, 2007


An overnight camping at Birch Bay State Park and two days of exploring the mud flats and tidepools. Not to mention Fairhaven and a picnic at Western Washington University.


September 01, 2007


Back to Mt. Rainier one last time for the year. This is a great trail and affords amazing views of Ranier and the Cascades.


August 27, 2007


Camping trip to Mt. Rainier. Mt. Rainier is seen here in Reflection Lake.


July 09, 2007


SUMMER is is full gear. The weather is perfect. Many walks to take. Many veggies to eat. Catch up with this photo album.


June 26, 2007


What a great day on Saturday. The weather was perfect, not hot, not cold, sun went in and out, no rain. A really great opportunity for walking. S and I took our feet all over town. It's the best way to travel. You see more, you do more, you don't get stressed from traffic and parking, it's cheaper and it's way healthier than being stuck in a car. I brought along the new camera gear to capture the highlights. I've created a Picasa album with some shots.


June 07, 2007


Recently returned form a two-week road trip throughout the South West. Details, stories and hundreds of photos to follow on separate blog. But I will post things this weekend here and on Cucina Bodanza.

April 18, 2007


Pretty excited to find that the Puget Sound Fresh 2007 Farm Guide is out. I grabbed several copies from the gym at work. Last year copies were also available in our cafeteria. You can also get all of this wonderful fresh and local farm info at Puget Sound Fresh. Get out there and start buying fresh and local produce.

April 12, 2007


One's landscape misfortune is another's opportunity. Sally came home one day to discover much of her garden weed-whacked within an inch of its life. A shock. A heartache in some cases where the plants were completely unsalvageble. However, it gave her the opportunity to reconsider what her garden was about and gave me the opportunity to grow vegetables again - something I was sure I wouldn't get a chance to do for at least a few years after moving into an apartment. It's a win-win. Tucked here and there, on each side of her property, are various greens, carrots, beets, turnips, winter and summer squash, peas, bok choi, chard, herbs, Walla Walla Sweets and in a couple of months beans and tomatoes and basil. Here are some before and current shots of how things are growing.

This above photo shows the corner where the driveway joins with the sidewalk. This area was probably the hardest hit by whatever machine did the cutting. Most things have revived. Some things were rearranged. Some things were mourned. The space in front of the porch now houses peas, carrots and lots of greens. It's the future home of tomatoes.

These peas I started indoors and transplanted. Same for the greens. I then direct sowed a carpet of arugula, mustard, bon jardin mix and one other thing that I can't remember. I then put in a row of carrots running almost the whole length of the bed. Carrots do love tomatoes so by the time the tomato plants go in, there will be bushy carrot tops to keep them company. The greens will have been long ago eaten.

At the corner of the property I planted beets, carrots, turnips and winter squash. The idea is that the squash will be trained up and along the rocks. That will give it plenty of room to roam and will look nice too. I did throw in one summer squash in this bed. We'll see how that goes. I will probably start a small variety in a large pot too. Here are the before and current shots.

Realizing that I missed the proper garlic planting time by months, I considered planting a few heads for the hell of it but where? Found this cozy nook. I added a whole bag of compost to this already well-worked soil. By the time October-November rolls around, we'll have something strongly resembling garlic that will taste great. OR, I'll just harvest it very young as "green" garlic. Any way I look at it, we're getting a garlic product and I'm working an area that I plan to use in the Fall.

Between the poppies and lavender we've got chard, radicchio and bok choi.

Finally, along the "front" of the house we have a bed of greens, carrots, turnips and beets. Not sure if there will be enough light for the root veggies but this is a really great spot for greens. This is the earliest shot. Currently, there is lots of sprouting going on. We will eat arugula and mustard in about two weeks.

There's other stuff going on too. Photos to follow soon - weather permitting.

April 10, 2007


This pretty flowering bush right outside my dining room window. I am clueless with the names of flowers but I know this is pretty and it smells really nice. It's great to be able to see things from my windows now. Actually, it's great to have so many windows now. Basement living was sure quieter but this current apartment is bright and ariy and gives me a view to the world.

April 09, 2007


The weather Saturday was cool and drizzly. However, that shouldn't keep one indoors when one lives in the PNW. Sally and I returned to a favorite hiking location, Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island. Curious to see just how far the bluff trail allows one to roam, we hit the road early. It doesn't seem far away but from home to the parking lot at the Landing it was 2.5 hours. This includes the fact that we only waited about 20 minutes for a ferry. We also left when there was no traffic on Seattle's I-5. Then again, we stopped for coffee in Coupeville at Miriam's Espresso. What a great place. Large, comfy, friendly, serving Cafe Vita coffee and Morning Glory Muffins from La Vie En Rose Bakery in Anacortes. Those muffins alone are worth the drive and the ferry ride. I'm not kidding. Miriam's has free WiFi too and breakfast and lunch sandwiches.

Seeing the drizzle worried me. The weather on the bluffs is always cooler and always windier and I had worn shorts. But the weather we found was the calmest it's ever been. The water was smooth. There was practically no wind (probably why no one was out in a sailboat). It was quiet.

Plenty of birding to be done. It was still early and it had rained. So the snacking opportunities were everywhere - like all over the trail. Worms here and worms there. Spotted a poor robin with a bum leg hobbling along. Didn't keep him from gobbling up the wroms. But his injury hindered his flight plans. Red-winged blackbirds don't seem to mind if you get too close.

We were disappointed to find that the bluff trail ends just past the break off down to Perego's lagoon. You can walk to Ft. Ebey State Park along the beach but we didn't have that kind of time. We were each due back in the city for dinner plans at different times. Another day we'll take alllllllllll day and hike to the park and back. We simply turned around and hiked back to the car for lunch. It's always a great hike. On our way back to the car, pretty much off the bluff and almost back to the staircase to the beach, a man staring out at the water alerted us to a
Gray Whale slowly cruising along. It wasn't more than 20 yards from the shore, alone, and barely making a ripple. I snapped what shots I could and then tried to work with them in iPhoto to make the whale stand out.

I'd never seen a gray whale and I'd certainly never seen one that close to the beach. Had we been on the beach we never would have realized it was swimming along side us. While eating lunch we spotted two huge eagles dodging and diving with sea gulls along the side of the bluff. Then they landed and sat on the beach. Had we walked along the beach we might have spotted that scene from close-up. But it was fun to see from any vantage point.

April 04, 2007


Travelled from my place to the newest Fuel location in the Montlake neighborhood. Wish I had taken the pedometer. I'm sure over the daily 10,000 steps was earned from the round trip. Spotted lovely tulips and happy snails.

April 02, 2007


This is a slightly different recipe than I've used in the past. I like this one and, of course, put my own twist on it. In fact, after a day thinking about it, I'm sure I will alter it again. I'll explain later.

I used 5 fresh red chilies which I seeded and de-veined. Original recipe called for 10 dried chilies, seeded. I also added a couple cardamon pods because I love this spice.

Heat a heavy frying pan and dry roast the whole spices over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Keep shaking that pan. When the seeds stop spattering, add the asafetida and turmeric and stir for a minute longer. Remove the mixture to a dry bowl. Add the oil to the pan and fry the dals until they darken, stirring frequently to prevent burning. I didn't exactly let them darken but I let them go long enough to change color and look toasty. Add them to the bowl of spices, mix well and let completely cool. In the meantime, I added about one teaspoon to the same frying pan and fried the chilies for about 5 minutes. Open some windows. The result of the hot oil and the hot peppers can make you cough. Remove the peppers and let completely cool on paper towels. Once cooled, I ground the spices in a spice grinder in three little batches. I ground the peppers in the food processor. I then ground everything in the food processor. I tasted it and wasn't happy. Too spicy, not enough body, fullness. As much as I love heat, I really love my sambar powder nutty and full and just a hint of sweet. Just a slight bit of heat is all I want. I mixed a second complete batch of toasted and ground spices and added that. Still not happy. Will make a third batch of toasted and ground spices and try again. In the meantime, store the mix in an airtight container.

Sambar Powder (Indian Curry)

5 fresh red chiles
1 tsp oil
25 grams coriander seeds -- (1 oz)
20 grams cumin seeds -- (3/4 oz)
15 grams black peppercorns -- (1/2 oz)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
15 grams fenugreek seeds -- (1/2 oz)
1/4 teaspoon ground asafetida
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
15 milliliters oil -- (1 tbsp.)
25 grams yellow split peas -- (channa dal), (1 oz)
25 grams white gram beans -- (urad dal), (1 oz)
2 green cardamon pods
Chinese New Year 2007, the year of the pig. S, K and A and I were early birds in the I.D. for dim sum breakfast basically. That's the best way to do it anyway. I don't think any of us ate another morsel until about 8:30 p.m. and then only picked at little things without any semblance to "dinner" because we were still all full. Dim sum isserved daily at various places and some open at 9:30 a.m. We waited until 10:30. In the meantime, we were treated to a dragon dance inthe street. Big drums were rolled along following the two dragons and a couple of masked characters. We hit Uwajimaya's for shopping and browsing. Had bubble tea too. Despite the very chilly temps it was a really fun afternoon.
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March 06, 2007

still here, just thinking

lots has happened over the past 6 months. still trying to decide what to blog about. i think i'll simply post some pics of latest outings and such. seriously considering a revamped food blog. who knows?