Breaking our fast

We planned to lunch IN A RESTAURANT today (yes, first time since…) before the mask mandate change. We planned to sit on the deck. Turned out the deck tables were already occupied when we arrived (plus, in the full sun!), so we sat INDOORS. The tables were arranged for 50% capacity, and we had our space. Everyone I saw wore their mask except when they were eating. Including us.

We ate with a view of the Olympics—so clear!—and of the mouth of Lake Washington Ship Canal—plenty of traffic in and out. The open water to the right (outside photo view) is Puget Sound and salt water. The Canal connects the the freshwater Lake Washington (follow the water to the left for a ways) to the Sound. The Ballard/Chittenden Locks enable boat passage as there’s a 20-foot difference in the elevations of sea and the lake. The Locks block the migrating salmon so the lock complex includes a fish ladder. The water passing through the fish ladder has to be “adjusted” (long story elsewhere) to include salt water to provide the proper scent for the fish to want to jump jump jump jump jump up the ladder to their spawning grounds. Constructing the Canal decreased the water level in Lake Washington by almost 9 feet, so I imagine there was some hue and cry from landowners whose docks became useless. But construction began in 1911, so maybe there was more rah!rah!rah! and less dissent about such changes to real estate value etc. I’m just guessing. You can find more info on all this on the web; ’sup to you.

My seafood salad includes smoked scallops. So very yum. What a great meal to be our first IN IN IN a restaurant since, well, you know.

Mole negro Sunday

Mole negro (say: moh-lay nay-grow) is a famous sauce native to Oaxaca, Mexico. We made it (more or less) the way it is made today, so it includes Old World ingredients not available in the prehispanic kitchen, like almonds and chicken. We processed a long list of ingredients this way and that, often with toasting, ending up as three different purees, plus chicken stock (upper left). The immersion blender got a huge workout, as it was the processing workhorse.

The final assembly began with the toasted then reconstituted dried chiles (right foreground), pureed, pureed, then more pureeing, and finally sieved to achieve succulent smoothness, then adding stock and simmering down. To that, we then added the upper right mixture, colored principally by roasted tomatoes, but also including tomatillos and toasted bread crumbs. Plus other lovelies. And more stock and simmering. Next, we added the lower left mixture, three kinds of nuts plus roasted plantain, and toasted spices like anise seed and raisins and sesame seeds and cinnamon bark (not a lot, but still). And stock, followed by simmering, of course. The final add was “Mexican chocolate,” which includes more cinnamon, and is not super sweet—still, it does include sugar. And more stock and further simmering.

At the end, the harsh sharpness that the chiles initially had was gone, and their biting heat was tempered. The twenty-four (or so) ingredients had become one amazing, complex sauce.

So very yummy. Probably won’t make it again from scratch, yet a lovely experience. And the eating—well, incomparable.

Could be

Possible North American entry for “Most Eclectic Grocery Shopping Selections, Six Items Maximum”? Upper left, that’s a jackfruit. I hear this is the season for them…. Not to be confused with a durian.

This jackfruit came from Mexico, and is labelled “The Original Party Fruit.” Flavor analysis: “Sweet with hints of mango, banana and melon.” Opening suggestions include using an oiled knife to combat stickiness. And, and, and, it’s a great meat substitute; not sure how a fruit is meat…perhaps we’ll open it Sunday.

Anthropological note

It occurred to me today that many of those “what would Jesus do?” people are dining today with ham as the centerpiece of the menu.

Not what the good Jew Jesus would ever eat, as I understand it. Ham with a side of mac-n-cheese—what Jesus would not do.


Cherry blooms

We don’t “do” Val-Day here, although we did have a fancier-than-normal dinner as a nod to the hubbub…the menu included roasted potato chunks…which have better browning these days in our “new” stove with the fan in the oven.

Can you say we roast veggies instead of saints?

Live comma learn

Wee maters

Bought a wee package of sorta-cherry-tomatoes today thinking eating them would be a fine adventure in tasty vegetable fun. Turned out the little green ones taste…green, sour, and not fun.


Brussels sprout trees

Among non-traditional/atypical/unexpected plant morphologies, I present Brussels sprout trees. Go brassicas!

Yum in an iron skillet

Tart tatin

We have apple trees in the orchard that yield apples that make deep pink applesauce. Turns out that if you use the same apples to make tarte tatin, they become such a deep red that you might think the fruit was plums! Oh, so super tasty!


Jan 11

Remember January of this year? We were not living like we were on the precipice of a descent into a pandemic. We ate out that month, two fancy meals…. “Ate out…”—slow and casual dining, too: sounds radical today!

Jan 27

…and I had a beet salad each time. I do love a beet salad. These are proof.

Today we watched “Freight trains and monsters,” an episode of “Yellowstone.” There was no beet salad, although there were campfire biscuits. Neither beet salad was a freight train or a monster. BTW, that refers to non-preferred horses in the barn….

Fresh herb

Basil harvest

Tonight we ate veggies from the neighbors’ garden: mini-cucumbers, leaf lettuce, broccoli…all super-yum. We ate basil from our garden*…snipped atop a pasta-tomato sauce mixture [okay, I admit: the ingredients for that were from various groc stores].

I kinda think the basil made the main dish phenomenal!

* Our garden consists of basil…and a pair of barely rooted spearmint stems. So we pretty much harvested all we had! [Not enough of a garden to get through the winter….]