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Everything posted by DRColby

  1. Be ready to: 1. Feed the birds. 2. Feed the rats. 3. Use fungicides and pesticides you never thought you would consider and aren't real big with most people. That's if you want fruit. If you want to have fat birds then plant raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. The rats like apples, Italian prunes (plums) and figs. I have experience with all of the above. If you want earwigs plant some artichokes. And Meyer lemons, around these parts they bear fruit in January or February; they're what we call cocktail size. If I lived in GA I guess my first stab at fruit would be peaches. Good luck, Dave
  2. Yesterday's activities resulted in three IBUs last evening. Transplanted about 80 tomatoes into some coconut mat pots I am trying this year. Plants are little bedraggled from just sitting with two leaves and long roots from all the cold. Sewed more arugula and other greens, transplanted a Meyer lemon that was pot bound into a bigger non-clay pot from Costco. (Think that this is what drove me to IBU bottle.) Also moved some thyme seedings into herb beds. Have never had much luck starting thyme and will be interested in seeing how these survive. Dill is coming up in beds as is fennel and flat parsley. Put in scarlet runner bean seeds; hope the Stellar jays leave them, unlike the peas, alone. We're eating some spinach, sorrel, lovage, tarragon and sweet sicily from the garden. Dave
  3. Don't know what your family is into in terms of eating (other than fresh from the garden), but the old-line Gold Room at Baranof Hotel often features game on the menu and is someyimes quite good. Dave
  4. There is a huge Mexican Grocery store, (taking over a former QFC location) at the corner of Pacific Highway and Kent- des Moines Rd, that is close to opening. It is rumored to be the biggest Mexican grocery north of CA. Another part of the talk is that the whole strip mall is going to be turned into a Mexican town square theme. The location is about 1/2 mile off I-5; there are also some pretty good, authentic Mexican eating places in the area. Dave
  5. This probably the tip of the iceberg on this subject. I think we are going to find that the levels of Mercury in salmonidae are going to be equally dangerous; especially in sockeye and those raised commercially. I was reading a paper (and I have lost the reference) from a recent conference of scientists at UW Madison recently on Mercury contamination using "best science available." A major point they made was that the levels are higher in costal tidal areas, estuaries and rivers. I am sure there will be much more on this in the coming months. Dave
  6. We did a 60-day cruise a couple of years ago. I would have to say that I probably ate better (and healthier) during four years in the navy. For most, cruise means "treat" and treat means all the lobster you can gouge yourself on. Believe me, even lobster gets old after while. They even used to feed it to prisoners. Also, consider the median targeted age for the cruise market is probably 65 and you on track for an otherize bland diet. On our most recent cruise and table-mates were Israelis. One night we elected to try the ship's "fine dining" at an extra $25 per person. That translated into steak, - American style- with lots of potatoes and sauces. My friend ,who was a Kosher wine producer in Israel, and I knew we were in trouble when a fine French wine came to the table and the label was in Chinese. Not to worry about sulphides. The wine steward, who was a very accommodative practicing Muslim, couldn't tell us much about the bottle's history. Neither could we. Our suspicion was was our wine was probably like Heinekens: "The largest Heinekens brewery in the world is said to be in China. Heinekens just doesn't know about it." I would suggest, if you are real interested in fine dining, on a cruise you check before you book as to where your ship replenishes while at sea. You may just find yourself 15 days at sea and eating thawed Seattle salmon rather than fresh barramundi or parrotfish from nearby waters. Dave PS - on the subject of wine we took a case with us and replenished in ports where French was spoken. The ship's list was marked up about 4 times and quite average. the cheapest bottle was probably $32 for an on-sale bottle of $6 wine/
  7. Jlo mein, You're right, the menu changes nightly and what appears on the plate is much more interesting than the description. Also, they are pros at getting people to the symphony, just mention it to your waiter. Dave
  8. How about the not-to-be missed Union? It has just changed it's modus operandi, back to older ways and for the better I think, if Friday night was any indication. Dave
  9. It might be interesting to pass along that Trader Joes is trying to limit its trade in products coming from China. Cathy and I glean for our local food bank and a week or so ago we picked up a case of Chinese pine nuts and another one of dried fruit and one of the employees told us about the effort. We hope there is success. Dave
  10. DRColby

    Wild Mushrooms

    The Pacific Northwest woods is alive with mushrooms (and breathtaking). I picked maybe 20 matsutaki buttons today, a bag of hedgehogs and got tired of picking chantrelles. The frost and freeze is coming but right now it is as good as it has been in fouryears. Dave
  11. DRColby

    Grilling Corn

    Greg Atkinson has a method we like: Shuck the corn, bathe it with olive oil, butter or a mixture, add chopped garlic and fresh herbs to mixture, wrap with aluminum foil and grill; turn a coule of times and test for doneness after about 20 minutes. Dave
  12. My fava beans were done almost a month ago. This is probably the 6th year I have grown them and never had a problem up unitl this year when something decided to eat them (rat, possum or squirrels, maybe). Anyhow they do best if planted in the fall; they winter over here and are a very early Spring crop. They don't need much since they are a nitrogen dendrification plant. We start picking them early (before the peas) and eat them from small all the way up to lima bean sized. Aphids love them because they are so soft but they are very easy to grow. Some varieties of favas are used by farmers as a cover crop. Dave
  13. I have been out in the Cle Elum area the last two Fridays and despite the weatherman saying it's been raining on the east side of the Cascades, not much has changed. Yesterday there was rain on the west side of the Pass, a fresh dusting of snow on the pass and sun on the east. In my "secret" patches there were the stubs from Verpas I picked the week before. Trillums are turing purple, needles are to the bothersome height the vine maples are starting to leaf out, but not much has changed with the morels. We need thunder, lighting and an ozone change, rain and some warm nights before we're going to see any morels. Keep hunting and keep spending $50 for gas to go from West to East. Morels were $40 a pound in the Pike Street Market and looked pretty good when compared to gas and wear and tear on my body. Dave
  14. Most wild mushrooms have an affinity or nuteral meats such as chicken and pork with lots of cream and butter. When I find what I call "wildcat" morels - burn morels the size of your fist - I like to remove the stems, take them chop them with some shallots, saute in buttler, them mix with some Panko crums, stuff them back into the two halfs and run them under the broiler for 3 minutes or so. Almost any wild mushrom is great in a souce made with small amount of a salty ham, such as good Black Forest, shallots and chopped morels, sauted in butter, reduced with a little white wine and then topped with heacvy cream. That goes well in pastry shells or over a pasta. If we can come up with some "native" morels - the thumb sized ones that come back year-after-year - we will probably saute them in buttter and serve them over asparagus as a side dish at Mothers' Day brunch. Just remember: mushrooms (with perhaps the exeception of matustakies) love butter and cream; how bad in our diet ridden days. Dave
  15. Your Prince patch must be the same as mine. I priced some of the prettest little Princes under a Sequoia that dogs (including mine) were lifting their legs on. 'shrooms had that nice almond smell and I dropped them in a frying pan with hot walnut oil for a quick cook, but when I sampled once they didn't have that nice fresh Prince taste so I pitched the skillet full. Might add that this is the earliest I have seen Prince in the PNW. The oysters I have clipped are very buggy and wormy, as are most Spring mushrooms eon the west side of the Cascades.... and o'yes, them slugs love our Puget Sound morels. Dave
  16. I, and people arround me, had ate them for years - and consumed wine at the same time - with out reaction. I also see some of our better produce stores carrying Verpas and labeling them as morels. I have been in resturants in Oregon where they were served and on the menu as morels. I think they are like any other wild mushroom: make sure they are cooked, be positive in your ID and start with small quanities. I also eat saddle mushrooms and have, but longer, cosmumed calf's brains. I have ate raw boletes in France, but would not do it here. We just had more verpas for lunch today in a rice, chicken and verpa soup. Dave
  17. Yesterday was a Verpa day, the first of the season which shows how late thinfs are in the PNW. Normally these first of the helvelas start showing about April Fools' Day in the NW. Last night it was false morels topping off toast with asparagus and a poached egg and some fresh tarragon At $3.25-a-gallon for gas for the "hunt" this meal was probably as expensive as a truffled one would have been. Dave
  18. I'd read that offal was what the French aristocracts threw into the streets for the poor to eat, hence the evolution of offal butchers. Today, since most offal isn't even available in the super-safe, litigious society, I thnik most offal goes into unsafe pet food. Dave
  19. DRColby


    Yesterday's food section of the NY Times carried an extensive article on the revival of veal which is grass and/or milk fed. Throughout the whole article - if there is a veal revival - there is no mention of veal sweetbreads; to me about the only veal I like to eat. Veal sweetbreads are now near-impossible to get in the US and when you can it rival the most expensive cuts of meats in price. We need to be more like the French and establish the veal-milk-cheese cycle. As one Frenchman told me, "we have so much cheese because we eat so much veal; the cows are always milking." The French always have veal sweetbreads. One of my favorite ways with sweetbreads this time of the year is to grill them quickly -after the two days of soaking, pealing , poaching, and pressing is done- and then combine them in a salad of morels, green beans with a simple lemon dressing and some fresh herbs. Dave
  20. I am wondering what I have here, and more than that, what to do with it.... Wandered out to survey the Winter damage in the garden and found my bed of Italian bitter greens thriving. The fresie, endives, I know but there are other greens that completely baffle me and what to do with them (cook them, and how, or in salads?). There is one that looks like machine except it is almost blue-green with huge leatherly leafs, slo some of what I would guess are radichinos, but types you don't find in the markets. These were started last Fall from seeds from "Seeds of Italy." Would a picture be of help? I have the "Red-White and Green" cookbook but that doesn't indicate much. Dave
  21. Six of us were at 11 Madison last week for an engagement party, of sorts. While most were impressed (as they should be with a $900 tab, with tip), I was slightly underwhelmed. I guess my lowly impressions started when we needed an explanation of a pretty simple menu that flowed to the "Chef says.... the whole table must eat the same number of courses on the tasting menu, etc”.... Then there was the service; we were slightly intimidated by the staff numbers, headed by hovering of the young Cornell restaurant management graduate. All seemed to be waiting to move to the next great Danny Meyer hit. The highlight, though, was when one off our party drained the last dregs from a bottle of red and the wine steward engaged in a wrestling match. For some reason at 11 Madison they insist on decanting all reds - cheap or expensive. The women thought it impractical to leave 2 inches in the bottle before moving on to the next. “See, no sediment!” It was a memorable but not great dining experience. The next day my wife and I ate at the Bar at the Modern.It may have been the difference of night and day, but I found this Meyer offering exceptional: whole different service and much better dining atmosphere. Dave Dave
  22. Stumbled across "Smoker Bag", imported from Finland, today while at Safeway. It's used, according to instructions, for smoking fish in oven or grill. Looked interesting, little spendy at $5 but thought I'd load one with some albacore, salmon and black cod. and see what happens. Anyone have any experience with this method of smoking? Dave
  23. We got back in town yesterday and decided to try Tavolata for an early (6:30 p.m.) dinner. What a mob. By 8 p.m. it was lined up outside waiting to get in and all the whole staff was working its tail off. Not bad for a restaurant that has been open to the public for 3 nights and without formal reviews. We couldn't get to the third plates because of the quanities and richness of the first two courses. Most interesting to me was was a Meyer lemon preserve served with the charcuterie. All the dishes we tried for 2nds were very rich, and all enough for two people. Everything, including the wines, was priced reasonably. It will be interesting to see how Ethan amd Patric handle the crowds with the no reservation system and how much more staffing they need to handle the flow. It looks like they will need a lot of bartenders. After we over 60s left at 10 the average age of the crowd probably dropped to about 25. I imagine they're still partying in Belltown this morning. Dave
  24. Haven't seen mentioned "Kitchen Stories" nor "Eat This New York" which aree both quite preceptive about the science and business of food. Dave
  25. Steve, Watched your vidio and am wondering about your bean pot, what is it made of that you can put it on top the stove, saute vegtables in it and then slow cook? Dave
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