Month: December 2010

Kendall Peak Lakes

It’s been a super fun week of vacation, packed with adventure everyday. We were a bit tired of being in the car after yesterday’s adventure on the Skagit River, so we decided that Snoqualmie Pass would be as far as we’d go today.

The xc snow parks were bound to be packed with skiers, so we decided to snowshoe to Kendall Peak Lakes. We attempted to reach these lakes last Christmas, but turned around short of our destination because we had a dinner date to get to. This year we had no time constraints – not even sunset – so we knew we’d make it.

This can be an easy trip if you stick to the roads. Or, if you’re like us, you march straight up the hill through the forest. Adventure beckoned and we arrived at the lakes about 2 hours after leaving the cars. We snacked on the ridge overlooking the basin below Kendall Peak (pictured below) and Snoqualmie Pass (not pictured because it’s an ugly ski area).

We mostly stuck to the road on the way down and were pleased to find our car still at trail head. (We parked it, with about 100 other cars, in the no parking area under the freeway.)

Black-eye peas, Indian style

It’s still 2010, but I’m already looking forward to one of the tastiest traditions associated with New Year’s Day: eating a steaming bowl of black-eye peas.

Photo courtesy of MzScarlett

Most people combine them with rice in some form of spicy Hoppin’ John. I’ve been on an Indian food kick lately, and you know how much I love salads. So when I found the following recipe from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes I knew it was just the thing for our table.

Black Eye Pea Salad with Ginger and Red Onion

1 1/2 c dried black eye peas (or 2 cans black eye peas, drained)
1 c chopped tomatoes
1/2 c chopped red onion
1/4 c chopped cilantro
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 serrano chile, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds

Place dried beans in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for approx. 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain and cool.

Toss the drained black eye peas with the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, ginger, serrano, cumin, cayene, and salt to taste.

Heat the oil over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the pan with a lid or spatter screen. After the seeds have finished sputtering, pour the oil and seeds over the pea mixture and toss to combine.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Update: This was REALLY good, served over a pile of steaming collard greens and a slab of homemade naan. It definitely tasted a bit Mexican until the mustard seeds were added.

Skagit Float Trip

Ever since college, Nick and I have been interested in taking a float trip down the Skagit River during “eagle season.” Starting in late fall, hundreds of eagles from as far away as Alaska converge on the river between Newhalem and Sedro-Woolley to feast on spawned out salmon. You can see plenty of them from riverside parks in Rockport, but the close up views are reserved for those hearty enough to brave the cold conditions on the water.

Nick and I booked our trip with Pacific NW Float Trips. (Tip: If you don’t have the budget for the whole trip, show up at Howard Miller Steelhead Park at around 10 a.m. They took plenty of people down a short section of the river for gratuity only.)

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Simon’s Cat in “Santa Claws”

Santa has come and gone, but many people’s trees are still up, so I feel okay posting this.

It tastes better than it looks

Green juice

Apparently drinking juiced greens is supposed to help me increase my iron stores. When mixed with carrot and apple juice, it doesn’t taste half bad. Looks a little like something I scooped out of a swamp, though.